The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not usually pay Social Security benefits to college students affected by the death of a parent, as they have completed their secondary education. However, students of retired, diseased, or disabled parents who remain full-time in school in any grade 12 or below may be able to receive Social Security benefits.
Below, our disability attorneys discuss these situations and how to apply. For assistance with the application process, schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our legal team today.
Social Security Student Benefits
Once a young person reaches the age of 18 and he or she is not enrolled in a secondary education program, student benefits typically stop unless he or she also qualifies for childhood disability benefits. For full-time students, benefits will continue until they reach 19 years old or graduate from high school, whichever date comes first.
Will the SSA Pay for College Courses?
The SSA does not currently pay for college courses. The SSA only pays benefits to students taking courses at grade 12 or below. From 1965 until 1981, the SSA did provide benefits, sometimes called college student benefits, which granted Social Security survivor benefits to full-time students until age 22. Many people considered these benefits a type of student aid, even though they were a child's benefit for support as the child was not yet a financially independent adult.
Programs That May Qualify for Benefits
While students with a deceased parent or parents are not eligible for Social Security survivor benefits while earning their higher education, other benefits may be available to assist with educational costs. Pell Grants and Stafford Loans are forms of financial aid offered by the Department of Education.
Many scholarship and grant programs exist to aid students who have suffered the loss of a parent. These programs must be applied to, and often a student is eligible for multiple scholarships at one time. Certain scholarships are available for students who have lost their parent or parents due to a specific cause, or if the late parent was a police officer, firefighter or military servicemember. Scholarship programs also exist for students with disabilities.
How to Apply for Student Benefits
To be eligible for disability benefits, a student must complete a form detailing his or her school attendance. It must be certified by a school official and submitted to the local SSA office. Only certain pages must be filled out and submitted, which can complicate the process. A disability lawyer can help you fill out this form so that you do not miss out on receiving the student benefits you need.
When Will Benefits Stop?
Student benefits will stop the month before you reach age 19. If you drop to lower than full-time status, benefits stop the first month you are no longer full-time. Marriage, a criminal conviction, attending school part-time or receiving payment from an employer to go to school may also affect how long benefits continue.
Changes That Must Be Reported to the SSA
If any of the following situations apply to a student, they must be reported to the SSA:
- No longer attending school
- Attendance is reduced below full-time
- Change of schools
- Criminal conviction
- Employer pays for school attendance
- A move or change of mailing address
- Estimated earnings change due to a work change
Receiving Benefits While School is Not in Session
Benefits are paid during the summer months when school is out as long as:
- Summer break is no longer than four months
- You attended school full-time immediately prior to the break
- You will return to school right away following summer break
Get Help From Our Attorneys Now
If you are currently applying for disability benefits or your application has been denied, our Phoenix Social Security Disability attorneys are ready to help you get the benefits you deserve. We understand how overwhelming the entire application process can be, which is why we want to help reduce some of the stress of applying for these benefits.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available in your situation. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.