If a parent becomes disabled, it can have a devastating financial impact on their family, however social security benefits are preventing children from becoming victims of financial distress. These auxiliary Social Security benefits for unmarried, minor children are available in specific circumstances.
Social Security Benefits for the Children of the Disabled
Over four million children receive benefits from Social Security because one or both of their parents are retired, deceased or disabled. These benefits are distributed to provide necessities and ensure that children have the resources that they need to complete high school. This funding serves as a lifeline for families who are struggling because of loss of income due to a parent’s disability.
Eligibility for Benefits
Eligible social security beneficiaries must be the biological or adopted child or dependent stepchild of a disabled person. Benefits will stop once a child reaches the age of 18, unless they are still an eligible student. Often, when a parent becomes disabled due to a catastrophic event, the family is forced to deal with the long-term consequences of loss of work, along with mounting medical expenses.
Children may be eligible for these Social Security benefits even if they have never worked. In these cases, benefits are based on the earnings of the parent, rather than the child. If a parent has not earned enough prior to becoming disabled to cover dependent benefits, they may not be granted. Children may only receive up to 50% of an adult’s disability payment and a family cap is placed on the amount that all members within a household may receive. These calculations also factor in whether a child has one or two disabled parents. Social Security Administrations guidelines will determine the exact benefit amount for each member of the household, including children.
Applying for Benefits
Applying for Social Security benefits can be a difficult process. In many cases, an appeal must be filed before benefits are granted. Social Security attorneys in Chicago assist families with the application and appeals process and help them to understand what types of benefits that dependent children may be eligible for. Even if a child already receives Social Security Benefits due to their own disability, additional programs may be available that will help their family to stay afloat financially.