Can You Get Social Security Benefits for an Adopted Child?

by Rod Howell

    In 2011, over 4 million children, including adopted children, received SSA retirement, disability or survivors benefits. If you’re an SSA beneficiary, your adopted child can get benefit payments off of your record. Your adopted child has the same requirements to meet as a beneficiary’s natural children.

    Eligibility

    Your adopted child’s eligibility starts before he turns 16. SSA benefits for children generally get cut off when they turn 18. However, the SSA extends eligibility if your child is in high school. He gets benefits until two months after turning 19 or graduation, whichever occurs first. These age requirements apply to all three benefit programs.

    Benefit Amounts

    The benefits your adopted child gets are based on the SSA program. Under the disability and retirement program, your child gets one-half of your entitled benefit. If you pass away and qualified for survivors benefits, your child would receive 75 percent of your entitled benefit amount. The SSA reduces payment amounts to your adopted child and other qualifying family members if the total family benefit is more than 150 to 180 percent of your entitled benefit.

    Disability

    If your adopted child has a qualifying disability, he may get SSA benefits permanently. This means the medical condition must last longer than 12 months or be considered terminal. The disability also has to stop an individual from doing previous work and adapting to other types of jobs. The disability has to occur before your child reaches age 22. Besides being disabled, your adopted child also has to be unmarried. Your child will continue receiving "child benefits" into adulthood because payments are based on your entitled benefit.

    Supplemental Security Income

    If you have an adopted child with a disability, he may qualify for SSI. The SSI program pays benefits to qualified disabled and elderly individuals with limited resources and assets. Your child qualifies if the medical condition meets the program’s child definition of disability. He must also be unmarried and not considered head of a household. Your child can get SSI benefits from birth up to age 18, or 22 if he is in school. However, you as the parent must have incomes, resources and assets not exceeding the program’s guidelines or your child will become ineligible. As of 2012, your child gets a maximum of $698 per month in SSI federal benefits. However, some states provide additional payments to supplement the federal benefit rate.

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    About the Author

    Rod Howell is a writer living in Charlotte, N.C. He graduated from Thaddeus Stevens College with an associate degree in administration in 2000. He published the book "Capitol Conspiracy" and regularly contributes to a blog as well as various other websites, drawing frequently from his experience as an insurance agent.

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