When you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. Your eligible child can be your biological child, adopted child or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also qualify.
To receive benefits, the child must:
- be unmarried; and - be under age 18; or
- be 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or
- be 18 or older and disabled from a disability that started before age 22.
Normally, benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. However, if the child is still a full-time student at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, benefits will continue until the child graduates or until two months after the child becomes age 19, whichever is first.
Within your family, each qualified child may receive a monthly payment up to one-half of your full retirement benefit amount, but there is a limit to the amount that can be paid to the family as a whole. This total depends on the amount of your benefit and the number of family members who also qualify on your record. The total varies, but it is generally equal to about 150 to 180 percent of your retirement benefit.