Your children can collect Social Security disability after you die if they currently receive it on your behalf. However, certain rules govern the process. A minor whose disabled parent dies may continue to receive disability benefits until they become an adult. An adult child may keep collecting benefits if they meet certain criteria such as being enrolled in school or having a disability themselves. In some cases, even grandchildren may remain eligible.
A Social Security disability lawyer from the Disability Advantage Group can help you understand and recover your benefits. If you are worried about protecting your children’s financial well-being, we can review your situation and let you know what to expect should something happen to you. For a free case evaluation with a member of our team, call our office at 865-566-0800.
Social Security Disability Benefits for Children, Adult Children, and Grandchildren
If you become disabled and start collecting Social Security disability benefits, your dependents may also be eligible to obtain benefits on your behalf. You will still receive the same base amount you would as a single person with no dependents, but you’re also eligible for additional compensation to support your children.
The extra benefits for which you are eligible depends on how many dependents you have. The maximum you can receive in any situation is an additional 50 to 80 percent on top of your base award.
There are three types of dependent children who may be able to collect Social Security disability on your behalf: your children, adult children, and grandchildren. Social Security treats each of these types of dependents differently in situations where the primary disability recipient dies.
Your Children’s Social Security Benefits After You Die
If your minor child was receiving Social Security disability benefits at the time of your death, they are eligible to continue receiving benefits as survivors. This is true for biological children as well as for adopted children and stepchildren.
For your child to receive survivor benefits, they must be unmarried and under 18. If they meet both these criteria, they can receive 75 percent of your established base amount. So, if you were collecting $2,000 per month in Social Security disability (not counting the supplemental benefits you received on behalf of your dependents), your child would receive $1,500 per month.
The month before your child turns 18, their benefits will end unless they are disabled or still in high school—in which case they are eligible adult children. Read on to learn more about this scenario.
Your Adult Children’s Social Security Benefits After You Die
All minor children are eligible to continue receiving Social Security disability benefits on your behalf after your death. However, adult children only qualify in specific situations:
- The dependent is 18 and still enrolled in a secondary school. To be clear, secondary school refers to high school, not college—in most cases, children over 18 in college are ineligible for benefits.
- They have a disability that they developed before the age of 22.
If your adult child is eligible to collect survivor benefits because they are still in high school at age 18, their benefits will end either when they leave high school or two months after their 19th birthday, whichever is soonest.
If your child is eligible because they have a disability, they will continue to collect survivor benefits as long as they remain both disabled and unmarried.
Your Grandchildren’s Social Security Benefits After You Die
In a few situations, your grandchildren or step-grandchildren may receive survivor benefits on your behalf. For them to be eligible, they must meet both of the following requirements:
- They receive no financial support from their biological parents, either because their parents are dead, disabled, or absent from the children’s lives.
- They lived with you for at least 12 consecutive months before age 18, during which time you provided at least half of their financial support.
If the child is under the age of one at the time of your death, then they must have lived with you and been supported by you for their entire life to be eligible for survivor benefits.
Call 865-566-0800 Today for a Free Case Evaluation
At the Disability Advantage Group, we want to help with any Social Security disability issue you are facing. Our attorneys can help you receive benefits or protect the ones you are currently collecting. For a free case evaluation with a member of our team, please call our office at 865-566-0800.