Social Security Benefits for Grandchildren

Today, many parents find themselves expecting an empty nest, only to find themselves raising their grandchildren.  As Social Security recipients themselves, the grandparents wonder if Social Security can pay their grandchildren benefits based on their work.  Social Security can pay benefits when certain requirements are met.  Children must not be receiving any Social Security benefits on their own parent’s record.  Generally, the biological parents of the child  must be deceased or disabled, or the grandparent  must legally adopt the grandchild.  If they are receiving or are eligible to receive payments on their own parent’s work record, they will receive benefits on that record instead of on the grandparent’s record. The first step is always to determine if the child can get any benefits from their own parents.
When no benefits are available from their own parents, Social Security checks to see if they meet the requirements for grandchild’s benefits.  The grandparents must have been providing one- half of the child’s support and the grandchild must have begun living with the grandparent before they reached age 18.  The grandparent must have been contributing one-half support for the year before the month the grandparent became entitled to retirement or disability benefits, or died.  The natural parent of the child must not be making regular contributions to the child.  If the child was born during the one- year support 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. 
Because there are rules about support within a certain period and timeframes for living with the grandparent, consulting Social Security about the situation is the best way to find out if your grandchild is eligible for benefits.  You can call us on our toll-free number (1-800-772-1213) from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M., Monday through Friday.  You can read more about benefits for children here:  http://www.socialsecurity.gov/people/kids#&ht=1&a0=3.


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