Can a Child Draw Off of Your Social Security Retirement Benefits?

Social Security checks for children come in their parents' names. Images

Your children can receive retirement benefits off of your work record. In fact, more than 4.3 million children got Social Security benefits in 2011. The Social Security Administration has several requirements that your children must meet before they can receive monthly benefits. Your retirement benefit will not decrease because your children are getting payments. Instead there will be an increase in benefits brought to your household.


Your children are eligible for retirement benefits if they’re 16 years or younger. Their eligibility ends once they turn 18. However, if they are in high school they can get benefits until they graduate or until two months after their 19th birthday, whichever happens first. To qualify for benefits, they must be unmarried.

Disabled Children

If you have children who are disabled, they can get benefits off of your record into adulthood. Their disabilities must have happened before they turned 22. They will continue receiving benefits for as long as the Social Security Administration considers them disabled. If your children's disabilities are permanent, they can get benefits for the rest of their lives.

Benefit Amounts

Your children will each get one-half of your entitled retirement benefit. However, the Social Security Administration limits the total benefits your family receives. If you have multiple children, the total amount they can get cannot exceed 150 to 180 percent of your retirement benefit. Each child’s check will be reduced proportionately by the SSA so to not surpass this limit.


Your natural children aren’t the only ones who can get Social Security benefits off of your record. Stepchildren and adopted children are also entitled to benefits. Your grandchildren are eligible for retirement benefits if they’re your dependents. If your children are working, they can still receive benefit checks. However, as of 2012 their benefits were reduced if their earnings topped $14,640 a year.