Every grandmother loves her grandkids, but what if your grandmotherly duties extend beyond baking cookies together and helping your grandkids with homework? If you’re currently caring for your grandchildren, your grandkids may be eligible for additional Social Security benefits under your account. These benefits can be spent on your grandchildren’s needs as well as household expenses, like utility bills or car payments. Here’s a little more information on whether your grandchild will qualify for additional benefits.
Which Grandchildren Are Eligible For Benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers auxiliary benefits for dependents of people who are on Social Security retirement or Social Security disability, or after a parent (or in this case, grandparent) passes away. A biological grandchild, step grandchild, or adopted grandchild could all be eligible for benefits.
Technical qualifications can be challenging to meet when you’re applying for additional Social Security benefits on behalf of a grandchild. First, your grandchild must be receiving at least 50% of his or her daily support from you to be eligible. You also must have started caring for your grandchild before she turned 18, and have been supporting your grandchild for at least one year before applying for additional Social Security.
Finally, the grandchild’s parents must be disabled or deceased, or you must have adopted your grandchild for her to be eligible for benefits under your account. This means that if you have legal custody over your grandchild, she unfortunately will not be eligible for benefits unless you officially adopt your grandchild or your grandchild’s parents are approved for Social Security disability benefits or pass away.
How Much Could a Grandchild Receive?
If your grandchild is eligible for benefits, she could receive up to 50% of your Social Security retirement or disability benefits until your grandchild turns 18. If your spouse passes away, your grandchild can receive up to 75% of your spouses’ monthly Social Security entitlement until age 18.
There is a household income cap, which will vary depending on your specific situation but is usually 180% of your monthly entitlement. This means that if you have two grandchildren eligible for benefits under your account and you receive $2,000 per month, each grandchild would receive $800 per month, bringing your total monthly benefits to $3,600. Once one grandchild turns 18, the younger child would become eligible for the full 50% of your benefits.
It can be very challenging to know exactly how much your family will receive in auxiliary benefits, so you should always speak to a Social Security Administration representative to discuss your unique situation!
Applying on Behalf of a Grandchild
You’ll need to complete all the paperwork to add a dependent to your Social Security account at your closest Social Security Administration office. There are more than 1,300 SSA offices located across the country, and you will not need to visit with your grandchild to apply. To make an appointment to file the paperwork in person, you can call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213.
SSA’s Website: https://www.ssa.gov/
Grandchild Eligibility: https://www.ssa.gov/people/kids/
How a Parent Can Qualify: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/social-security-disability-insurance/how-to-qualify
Income Cap Explained: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/applying7.html – h1