Can My Grandchild Receive Social Security Benefits?

October 14, 2019
Dayes Law Firm

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability benefits for workers who are unable to work due to disability. In some cases, benefits may be available to the claimant’s dependent family members, including grandchildren.

Learn more about Social Security benefits for dependent grandchildren and how to apply. For help with your claim, contact the Phoenix Social Security Disability attorneys at our firm for a free consultation.

Auxiliary Benefits for Dependents

Dependent family members of disabled workers eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may also be able to obtain benefits. These benefits are known as auxiliary benefits. Those eligible for these benefits may include:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Step-children
  • Grandchildren
  • Step-grandchildren

Eligibility Requirements for Grandchildren

Grandchildren and step-grandchildren are a type of dependent eligible for auxiliary benefits, based on the work history of the child’s grandparent. Grandchildren must be under the age of 18, or under the age of 19 and enrolled as a full-time high school student.

For a grandchild to be eligible for auxiliary SSDI benefits under his or her grandparent, the grandchild must meet all of the following qualifications:

  • Both of the child’s parents are disabled or deceased
  • The child was living with his or her grandparents before reaching the age of 18
  • The child was at least half financially supported by his or her grandparent in the year prior to the grandparent becoming eligible for SSDI benefits
  • In the case of a child under one year of age, the child must have lived with his or her grandparent since birth

If a grandparent who receives SSDI legally adopted the grandchild, the grandchild requirements are different. This applies to legally adopted grandchildren only, not children only under the legal custody of a grandparent. Legally adopted grandchildren instead must meet the requirements set out for a child to receive auxiliary benefits, which include:

  • The grandchild is under the age of 18
  • The grandchild is not married

A legally adopted grandchild who is over the age of 18 may still qualify for auxiliary benefits under the grandparent’s SSDI benefits if:

  • The grandchild is under the age of 19 and enrolled full time in a school that goes up to grade 12 (college students are not eligible)
  • The grandchild must be disabled, and his or her disability must have started before reaching the age of 22

How Much Can Grandchildren Receive?

Grandchildren who meet the above requirements for auxiliary benefits under a grandparent’s SSDI benefits typically are eligible for a benefit amount equal to 50 percent of the grandparent’s full retirement age benefit (up to the family maximum benefit amount).

If the grandchild’s auxiliary benefits plus the total of all other SSDI benefits paid out under the grandparent totals more than the family maximum benefit, you will not receive the full benefit amount that the grandchild is eligible for.

How to Apply for Benefits for a Grandchild

The grandparent must apply in person at the closest Social Security office on behalf of the grandchild. You may make an appointment by calling the SSA’s toll-free number but the application must be filled out and submitted in person.

When filing a claim for a qualifying grandchild to receive auxiliary benefits under your SSDI benefits, the process typically takes between three to five months. Once approved, the grandchild is added to your records and you will start receiving benefits for the grandchild.

Auxiliary benefits for grandchildren may be used for the following expenses:

  • Healthcare
  • School costs
  • Childcare
  • Rent
  • Utility bills
  • Gifts and recreational items
  • Other needs for daily living

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

Our disability attorneys at Dayes Law Firm have helped many families across Maricopa County access the disability benefits they need. Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available to help obtain benefits for a dependent family member. There are no upfront fees to pay, and you only pay legal fees if we successfully recover compensation for you.

Call 1-800-503-2000 or complete our online Free Case Review form now.