What is the Child Benefit?
Social Security Child Benefit is a monthly payment which is distributed to children with disabilities, or to children with a deceased or disabled parent. This is to help relieve the cost for parents and guardians raising their children.
Child Benefit Eligibility
In order to receive benefits, your child must be a biological or adopted son or daughter, or your dependent stepchild. In some cases, children may be eligible to receive benefits based on a grandparent’s earnings.
To be eligible for survivor benefits, the child’s parent must have worked long enough to earn Social Security benefits before retiring, becoming disabled, or dying. The child must not be married.
Specific age requirements also apply. To fit Child Benefit criteria, each child must be:
- Under age 18;
- Between age 18 and 19 and a full-time elementary or high school student; or
- 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.
Childhood Disability Benefits
According to Child Benefit regulations, a child is considered disabled if he or she has seriously limited physical or mental condition(s). The condition must also last, or be expected to last a minimum of one year, or to result in the child’s death.
Child Benefit rules also subject applicants to income guidelines. The child’s personal income and the family’s income and resources are factors in determining eligibility.
When Does Child Benefit Stop?
For most children, Child Benefit payments stop at age 18. If your child is under 19 years of age and still in school, send proof of attendance to the Social Security Administration. Their benefits will then stop two months after they turn nineteen. College students are ineligible for this benefit extension.
Disabled children will still receive Social Security payments after they turn 18. They are eligible for continued childhood benefits if the disability occurred before they turned 22.
How to Claim Child Benefit
Children of Disabled or Deceased Parents
Contact the Social Security Administration toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security Office to apply for benefits. These benefits provide support for eligible children of a worker who is dead or disabled. You must provide documentation to determine your eligibility, including:
- birth certificates for you and the child;
- proof of adoption, if applicable;
- proof of marriage if you were or are married to the worker;
- proof of US citizenship or legal alien status if you were born outside the US;
- United States military discharge papers;
- W-2 forms or last year’s self-employment tax returns; and
- proof of the worker’s disability or death.
Be ready to answer several detailed questions about where the child has lived, the worker’s history, and your eligibility as a representative payee for Social Security benefits.
In addition to providing the information listed for children receiving survivor benefits, you must fill out two Child Benefit application forms. The Application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Child Disability Report provide the necessary information to determine whether your child may receive benefits. Income restrictions apply, so contact the Social Security Administration first to find out whether your income falls within their guidelines.
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