Social Security - Benefits for Grandchildren

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More and more parents are finding themselves raising grandchildren. Social Security will pay benefits to grandchildren if benefits are not payable on the work record of a parent.


If a child is not receiving benefits from a parent when the grandparent retires, becomes disabled, or dies, the grandchild may then be able to qualify for benefits if certain conditions are met. Generally, the biological parents of the child must be deceased or disabled, or the grandchild must be legally adopted by the grandparent.

In addition, the grandchild must have begun living with the grandparent before age 18 and received at least one half of his or her support from the grandparent for the year before the month the grandparent became entitled to retirement or disability insurance benefits, or died. Also, the natural parent(s) of the child must not be making regular contributions to his or her support.

If the grandchild was born during the one-year period, the grandparent must have lived with and provided at least one-half of the child's support for substantially all of the period from the date of birth to the month the grandparent became entitled to benefits.

The grandchild may qualify for benefits under these circumstances, even if he or she is a step-grandchild. However, if the grandparents are already receiving benefits, they would need to adopt the child for it to qualify for benefits.

Social Security has a toll-free number that operates from 7AM to 7PM, Monday to Friday: 1-800-772-1213 If you have a touch-tone phone, recorded information and services are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free "TTY" number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Please have your Social Security number handy when you call us.
Visitor Comments (4)
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Robert - 9 months ago
0 0 1
I am asking his question on behalf of my aunt. My male cousin owned a small tree removal service. He died unexpectedly appx. four months ago. His child was never formally adopted by his wife. The child's biological mother lives in South Carolina and is in and out of jail on drug offences. Child has lived a substantial amount of time with my aunt and he now resides there permanently. My aunt is 68 and draws a SS benefit. She will be going to court soon to become the child's legal guardian. She currently draws a benefit for the child however must split amount with my cousins other child who lives with her biological mother. Therefore my aunt receives $150 a month to support the child. My question is "Is there any additional benefit available to my aunt if she were to formally adopt her grandchild and changed the child' name to her own?" The child is under the age of 18. My aunt would move forward with the adoption/name change to be able to provide better for the child. Thx #1
Linda - 5 months ago
0 0 0
My husband and I have guardianship of four of our grandchildren and have for almost five years. We are wanting to adopt. If we get them will we be able to draw benefits for all of them or just part of them? We are both on social security. #2
steven - 4 months ago
0 0 0
I need the same ? answer about my grandchildren #3
Kathy Robertson - 12 months ago
8 2 3
My husband and I have custody of two of our grandchildren. Do they qualify for ss bebefits #4
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