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Kinship Navigator - Social Security
How does a child become eligible for Social Security Benefits?
|Child eligibility through parents' Social Security
|A child is entitled to child's insurance benefits on the Social Security record of a parent if the following conditions are met:
|Child eligibility through grandparent or step-grandparent
|First, a child can receive benefits based upon the grandparent's or step-grandparent's eligibility if the grandparent or step-grandparent is not yet receiving and all of the following conditions are met:
The child 's insurance benefit payments from a parent or a grandparent end when:
|Eligibility as a disabled child of a low income family
|Supplemental Security Income or SSI is the most common way that children with a disability receive benefits from Social Security. A child younger than age 18 can qualify if they meet Social Security's definition of disability for children, and if his or her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits. It is a two part test.
First, in order be considered disabled and receive SSI a child must meet the following requirements:
Second, the child 's income and resources must fall within the eligibility limits based on:
If a child's income and resources, or the income and resources of family members living in the child's household, are more than the amount allowed, Social Security will deny the child's application for SSI payments. However, your home, your household goods, a car, essential business or trade property, life insurance, disaster relief assistance, housing assistance, tax refunds, gifts to children with life threatening conditions, and children's college savings and other categories are all excluded from any resource calculations. Other resources may have to be agreed to be disposed of within certain time limits in order to qualify for benefits.
SSI disability reviews after approval:
How do I apply for Social Security Benefits?
You can apply for SSI payments or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for your child by calling Social Security toll-free at 1-800- 772-1213 or by visiting your local Social Security office or on line at https://www.ssa.gov/. No matter which way you apply for a child in your kinship care, you will have to make an appointment at the Social Security office. Social Security will help you determine whether or not you should apply for SSI or SSDI.
What do I need to bring with me?
|If you are applying for SSI payments for the child, you should have his or her Social Security number and birth certificate with you. If you are applying for SSDI benefits for the child based on your own earnings record, please have your own Social Security number with you, or the Social Security number of the retired, disabled, or deceased parent on whose record the SSDI claim is being filed, in addition to the child's Social Security number and birth certificate. If you are applying because of the death of a parent, you may need a death certificate. You will also need to bring any documentation showing that the child is in your custody.
|Medical and Educational Information
|It is helpful if you tell Social Security as much as possible about the child's medical condition. Make a list of all the child's doctors and hospitals. the dates the child's appointments and hospital admissions and medicines the child takes. Bring any medical records you have.
You don't need to request information from the child's doctors. Social Security will contact them directly for reports or information that is needed to make a decision about your child's disability.However, if you have any medical records, reports or information, you should bring them with you.
Social Security also will ask you to describe how the child's disability affects his or her ability to perform daily activities. In addition, they will ask for the names of teachers, special education or intervention providers, day care providers, and family members who can provide information about how the child functions. If you have school records, you should bring them to the interview.
|If your child is younger than age 18 and applying for SSI, you must provide records that show your income and resources, as well as those of the child.
What is a representative payee?
Generally, if a beneficiary is under age 18, Social Security will pay benefits to a representative payee.
Before selecting a representative payee, Social Security will perform a background investigation, usually including a face-to-face interview. In selecting a payee Social Security tries to select the person, agency, organization or institution that will best serve the interest of the beneficiary. In making their selection they consider:
- The relationship of the person to the beneficiary;
- The amount of interest that the person shows in the beneficiary;
- Any legal authority the person, agency, organization or institution has to act on behalf of the beneficiary including whether or not the person has custody;
- Whether the potential payee has custody of the beneficiary; and,
- Whether the potential payee is in a position to know of and look after the needs of the beneficiary.
|Legal and Custodial Information Fact Sheets|