Social Security: Can My Grandchild Receive Dependent Benefits?

Surprised senior man listening a secret that his grandson is whispering to him during a meal on a terrace.
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Under certain circumstances, Social Security may pay dependent or survivor benefits to a grandchild — if the parents are deceased or disabled, or if you legally adopted the child.

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According to AARP, if you haven’t claimed benefits yet, you must prove that your grandchild began living with you before turning 18 and that you provided at least half of their financial support for one year before the month that you became entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

If the child is under a year old, you must prove that you provided half of their financial support from birth. If the parents are still living, they must not be making regular financial contributions towards their support. 

If you were already receiving Social Security benefits when began caring for your grandchild, you must adopt the child in order for him or her to collect benefits on your earning record, AARP added.

To learn more about what documents you may need to provide to prove your grandchild’s eligibility for benefits on your record, you can contact Social Security through your online account, by phone at 800-772-1213 or by visiting your local Social Security office. Benefit options for children and grandchildren can be found in the “Kids and Families” section of the Social Security website.

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Helpful: All You Need To Know About Collecting Social Security While Still Working

Social Security offices are currently closed to walk-in visits due to the pandemic; however, AARP reported that you may be able to schedule an in-person appointment for a critical issue. Since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago, nearly all public services have only been available online, by phone and mail.

Social Security offices are on track to reopen on March 30. The Social Security Administration and unions representing the agency’s workforce recently agreed to reopen more than 1,200 offices, The New York Times reported.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.

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