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Social Security Isn’t Just for the Aged

March 3, 2023 Alyson Dorosky By Alyson Dorosky

Children of disabled, retired, or deceased workers can qualify for benefits

Have a child and everything changes. Your priorities shift: Your world starts to revolve around their needs. You want to do everything you can to see that they’re taken care of.

When you think about financial security for your children, your mind probably doesn’t go to Social Security benefits. But Social Security isn’t just for retirees. The SSA says that around 4 million children of retired, disabled, or deceased parents receive benefits.

How children qualify for Social Security benefits based on parents’ earnings records

The child of a retired, disabled, or deceased worker may be eligible to receive benefits on their parent’s record. To qualify, they must be:

Children with disabilities may qualify for benefits beyond the age of 18 or 19. They do, however, need to be deemed disabled before turning 22.

Of course, not all children live with their parents. Children being raised by grandparents may qualify for benefits based on their grandparent’s record.

Dependent benefit amounts

Each month a child of a retired or disabled worker meets the qualifications, they are eligible to receive 50% of their insured parent’s Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) of disability or retirement benefits. If their parent is deceased, children are eligible to receive 75% of their parent’s PIA.


These are simple examples, of course. Spouses may also qualify for benefits based on the retired or deceased worker’s record. There may be more than one child eligible for benefits. In those cases, more rules may apply!

Limits on children’s benefits

The Social Security Administration has rules and conditions that factor into calculating dependent benefits and limit the total that family members of a worker can collect.

How to find out if children qualify for Social Security benefits

The SSA has a brochure on its website explaining children’s benefits and instructions on how to apply. You can the agency at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) or visit a local Social Security office. Use the SSA office locator to find addresses, hours of operation, and telephone numbers.

While you can walk into an office, it’s probably wiser to call and make an appointment.

Alyson is a key member of both the Marketing and Advisor Success Teams at LifeYield. She's been supporting advisors using Social Security Advantage for 3+ years, which makes her an important Social Security author to watch. She writes monthly about Social Security secrets, niche cases and lessons learned supporting clients in the digital era.