Social Security Retirement Benefits for Minor Child

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Minor children of a retired parent are eligible to receive Social Security benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, approximately 3.8 million children receive about $1.6 billion each month because one or both parents are retired, disabled or deceased. Children up to 18, or 19 if they are full-time students and have not graduated from high school, are eligible to receive benefits.

Eligibility Requirements

An unmarried minor age 18 and under can receive Social Security benefits after a parent retires. A disabled minor or adult child can receive benefits at any age if the disability occurred before the child turned 22. The benefits will continue for the duration of the disability, and in some cases, a married disabled child can receive benefits if he marries a disabled person also eligible for benefits. A child born or adopted after a parent retires may also be eligible.

Age Limits

A minor's eligibility to receive benefits after a parent retires ends at age 18. Benefits can continue up to age 19 if the child is a full-time student who has not graduated from high school. The benefits will usually continue until he graduates or until two months after reaching age 19, whichever comes first.

Benefits Amount

The Social Security Administration determines the amount of monthly retirement benefits a minor child receives by calculating a percentage of the retired worker's benefit. The minor child will generally receive 50 percent of the retired parent's benefit without it reducing the retiree's benefit amount. If more than one child is eligible, the additional benefit amount cannot exceed 180 percent of the parent's benefit payment. If the benefit amount to minor children exceeds the 180 percent, the amount to each family member is reduced. The retired parent's benefit amount remains the same.

Retirement Preparations

A few months before the retiring parent reaches retirement age, he should call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 to apply for retirement benefits. The parent must provide his Social Security number, his birth certificate, the Social Security number of each dependent child, each child's birth record and a bank routing number so checks can be electronically deposited.