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Surviving Child Benefits

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Surviving Child Benefits

In the wake of a parent's death, Social Security can provide care and assistance to the surviving child.

Who Is Eligible for Surviving Child Benefits?

A biological child, adopted child, or step-child is eligible for benefits upon the death of a parent who died after working long enough in a job where they paid Social Security taxes. The child must be one of the following:

  • Under 18
  • Between 18-19 and a full-time student not completing higher than 12th grade

What Materials Are Required when Applying for Surviving Child Benefits?

When applying for Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that you furnish the child's birth certificate, deceased parent's social security number, and proof of the parent's death. It is likely that you will be asked to provide other documents to process the benefits claim. These include:

  • Affidavits from family members
  • Medical records
  • Tax records
  • Evidence of child support

Can Surviving Benefits Continue after the Child Reaches 18?

A child cannot receive survivor benefits once they turn 18. Provided they submit to the SSA a statement of attendance, the child can continue to receive benefits until they complete 12th grade, or turn 19, whichever comes first.

How Much Money Does a Child Get under the Survivor Benefits Program?

A child will receive 75% of the deceased parent's Social Security benefit. Within a family however, the maximum monthly family disbursement cannot exceed 150 to 180% of the deceased parent's benefit. If the payment to the family exceeds the limit then each family member's benefit is reduced proportionally.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

A government lawyer experienced in Social Security benefits and regulations can assist you in processing the claim for a child who lost a parent. The child should receive the Social Security benefits they are entitled to. If you believe the child is not receiving the correct amount or was denied benefits, an attorney can discuss the child's rights and remedies.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 07-02-2018 06:58 PM PDT

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