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Parents May Qualify for Benefits

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As a parent, there are two instances in which you may qualify for benefits even if you have never worked under Social Security.

First Instance

If you have children in your care under age 18, you can receive a benefit up until they reach age 16. The child's benefit continues until he/she reaches age 18, or 19 if he or she is still in school full time. Your monthly payments stop with the 16th birthday of your youngest child receiving Social Security benefits.

Second Instance

The second instance in which you may receive a parent's benefit is as an elderly parent of a worker who has died. If your child dies and you are dependent on him/her for more than one half of your support, you can collect a Social Security benefit. Social Security pays monthly benefits to parents on the record of a deceased worker under the following conditions:

  • The parent must be at least 62 years old and must not have remarried since the worker's death.
  • The parent cannot be entitled to his/her own, higher Social Security benefit.
  • The parent must be able to show that he/she was receiving one-half of his/her financial support from the worker at the time of death. This proof of support must be submitted to Social Security within two years of the worker's death.
What Every Parent Should Know about Social Security
Baby's First Number
Who Can Get Benefits
How Much Work You Need for Benefits for Your Children
Benefits for Grandchildren
Benefits for Disabled Children
Parents May Qualify for Benefits
Using Social Security for Planning Family Financial Security


About 4,000 parents 62 and older are receiving monthly Social Security benefits on the record of a deceased child.
Almost 600,000 parents are receiving monthly benefits as the mother or father of a child receiving benefits.


Social Security has a toll-free number that operates from 7a.m. to 7p.m., Monday to Friday: 1-800-772-1213 If you have a touch-tone phone, recorded information and services are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free "TTY" number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Please have your Social Security number handy when you call us.

Or you could visit us: click here to find your Social Security office address.

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Last reviewed or modified Wednesday Jul 02, 2008
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