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Social Security Mailbox

Can My Child Get Social Security?

Benefits may be available for younger kids of older parents

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En español | Q: I'm 62, and my wife is going to have a baby in June this year. Is there a benefit for the baby when I start to take my Social Security payments?

A: Yes, there is. Generally speaking, when people take their Social Security retirement benefits, certain children may also receive benefits on their parents' work record. An eligible child can be a biological child, adopted child or a dependent stepchild. A dependent grandchild also may qualify.

See also: AARP Social Security Calculator

Father and children on couch, Social Security benefits for children

When parents take their Social Security retirement benefits, certain children may also be eligible to receive benefits. — Getty Images

In order to receive benefits, a child must be:

  • Unmarried

  • Younger than age 18

  • Between 18 and 19 years old and attending elementary or secondary school full time but no higher than grade 12

  • Age 18 or older and severely disabled (the disability must have started before age 22)

Each eligible child may receive a monthly payment that's up to half of the parent's retirement benefit amount. If there's more than one eligible child, there may be a limit on the total amount that can be paid to a family. It's usually equal to 150-180 percent of the worker's benefit.

For more information on benefits for children, see Social Security webpages or call Social Security at 800-772-1213.

Stan Hinden, a former columnist for The Washington Post, wrote How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. Have a question? Check out the Social Security Mailbox archive. If you don't find your answer there, send an email to the Social Security Mailbox.

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