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Who Can Get Benefits?

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Kids' Place
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The Work Site's Youth with Disabilities
Helpful information for youth with disabilities, their parents and families, teachers, and counselors.

Apply for Disability Benefits - Child (Under Age 18)
Disability Programs for Health & School Professionals

As a working parent, you are a source of Social Security protection for your family. If either parent retires, dies, or becomes disabled and unable to work, his or her earnings would be partially replaced by monthly Social Security payments.

Nine out of 10 children could receive benefits if a working parent retires, dies, or becomes too disabled to work.

Disabled Child

If a child is disabled before age 22, he or she may receive a disability benefit at any age. More than 630,000 people are currently receiving benefits as adults disabled in childhood. These benefits continue as long as they remain disabled and unable to work.

A child may be an adopted child or a natural child. There are special rules for stepchildren.


A stepchild can receive Social Security benefits on a stepparent's earnings record only if the child depends on the stepparent for at least one-half of his or her financial support.

This dependency requirement is the result of a law enacted on March 29, 1996. The law also requires that the stepchild's benefits end if the stepparent becomes divorced from the child's parent after June 30,1996. The child's benefits terminate in the month following the month the divorce becomes final.

The divorce must be reported to Social Security as soon as it becomes final. Each year, the Social Security Administration will notify stepparents who have a child (or children) receiving benefits on their record to remind them that benefits will be terminated in case of divorce.

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

What You Will Need

  • Fill out an application (you need to provide both parents' Social Security numbers).
  • Show evidence of your child's age, identity and citizenship. We need two documents, one for age and one for identity. In addition, you may need evidence of citizenship. Click here for a list of acceptable documents.
  • Show evidence of your identity.

There is never a charge for a Social Security card and number. Keep your baby's Social Security card in a safe place. It's an important document. If you lose the card, we'll replace it at no charge.


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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