A: Good question. In today’s society, more and more grandparents are raising their grandchildren and there are certain circumstances when grandchildren can qualify for Social Security benefits.
According to the Social Security website, a grandchild may qualify for benefits on a grandparent’s record if he or she was a dependent of the grandparent when they became eligible for Social Security retirement benefits or disability.
To be more specific, a grandchild may qualify for benefits if the following requirements are met:
The grandchild’s natural or adoptive parents have passed away or became disabled at the time the grandparent became eligible for Social Security retirement or disability benefits
The grandchild was legally adopted by the grandparent’s surviving spouse
The grandchild’s natural or adopting parent or stepparent must not have been living in the same household and making regular contributions to the child’s support at the time the grandparent died.
- The grandchild must have lived with the grandparent in the United States before reaching age 18 and received at least one-half support from the grandparent for the year before the month the grandparent began receiving retirement or disability benefits or died.
Social Security Benefits for Children
To be eligible for Social Security, a child must be unmarried and under age 18. If the child is a full-time student (high school), they can receive benefits as long as they are age 19 or younger. A disabled child can receive benefits no matter what their age if they became disabled before they reach age 22.
How much can a child receive?
Each child that qualifies for benefits on the parent’s record can receive up to half the parent’s full retirement benefit amount. However there is a family maximum benefit. In general the total family benefits that can be paid cannot exceed 150 to 180 percent of your full retirement benefit. The actual amount will depend on your benefit amount and the total number of family members who qualify for benefits on your record.
One final note… any amount your child or children receive will not reduce your full retirement amount. However, after reading this article I hope you’ll see that it’s important to maximize your benefit not just for yourself but also for your family.
To learn more about Social Security benefits for children, please visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/yourchildren.htm