Will My Under Age Child Receive Social Security Benefits Because I'm Disabled?

by Deborah Barlowe

    Depending on your age and the number of years you’ve worked and paid Social Security taxes, you and your family members may receive Social Security benefits based on your employment record if you become disabled. Whether your underage child will be eligible to receive benefits based on your work history is contingent upon your youngster’s age, marital status and school enrollment.

    Eligible Family Members

    If you qualify for benefits, Social Security will make monthly payments to your eligible family members if you become disabled to help them remain financially stable. The family members who may qualify for benefits based on your work history include your current and former spouses, biological and adopted children, stepchildren, parents, grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

    Eligible Children

    According to the Social Security Administration, roughly 4.4 million children receive an approximate, combined total of $2.5 billion in monetary benefits every month, as of August 2012. For your child to be eligible to to receive financial assistance from Social Security, your youngster typically must be unmarried and younger than 18. In general, children stop receiving payments from the Social Security Administration when they turn 18. Payments may continue beyond that age for your child, however, if he is younger than 19 and a full-time student in either an elementary or secondary school. If your child satisfies these criteria, his benefits will continue until either the day he graduates from school or the date he turns 19 years and two months old, whichever occurs first. Your child may also receive benefits beyond the age of 18 if he becomes disabled before turning 22 years old.

    Work Credits

    You can earn up to four work credits per year if you pay Social Security taxes on your income and your earnings exceed a monetary benchmark identified by the Social Security Administration. For your child to be eligible to receive Social Security benefits if you become disabled, you must have accrued a number of work credits that is determined by your age. Generally, the younger you are, the fewer work credits you’ll need for you and your child to receive benefits. For instance, if you become disabled when you are 40, you will have had to accumulate at least 20 credits in the five years immediately preceding the date when you became disabled for you and your child to receive monthly payments. If, on the other hand, you became disabled at 54, you would have had to accrue a minimum of 32 credits during the eight years that preceded the disabling event in order for you and your youngster to collect Social Security disability benefits.

    Benefit Amount

    If you receive Social Security disability payments, your eligible child can receive up to half of the amount you collect each month. The Social Security Administration limits the total amount that it will pay to your family members to between 150 to 180 percent of your own benefit. If the benefits paid to your family members exceed this limit, the Social Security Administration will reduce the respective amounts your family members receive without reducing your monthly payments or those received by your former spouses.

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Deborah Barlowe began writing professionally in 2010. With experience in earning securities and insurance licenses and having owned a successful business, her articles have focused predominantly on finance and entrepreneurship. Barlowe holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration from Cornell University.

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