Social Security Child's Insurance Benefits are part of the federal funds extended to children whose parents are retired, disabled, or disease. Basically, 98% children in the US could qualify for the benefits if their working parents were affected by any of these situations. Ideally, the benefits are mean to provide financial support so as to stabilize the situation. Likewise, anyone who is eligible for individual retirement benefits means that his or her children are also eligible for payment. In 2016, Social Security Administration disbursed over $2 billion to almost 4.3 million children who qualified for the benefits.
Who is eligible for Child’s Insurance Benefits?
A child may qualify for Child’s Insurance Benefits if one or both parents are retired, disabled, or dead, and if he or she is a biological, legally adopted, or a stepchild. The child could also qualify for the benefit based on grandparent's earnings. However, the child shouldn’t have exceeded 18 years at the time of application. On top of this, the child should not be married and should have been depending on the affected parent.
Benefits can continue at the age of 18 under certain circumstances. If aged 18 - 19, he or she may still qualify if still a full time elementary or secondary student. Also, if a child is disabled, and the disability started before age 22, he or she still qualifies for the benefits even if he or she is older than 18 years with no upper age limit.
In addition to the above, the parent must have been fully insured or had earned enough Social Security credits at the time of death or disability. This means that he or she should be receiving disability insurance benefits. In cases of retirement, the parent should be currently entitled to retirement insurance benefits.
How children receive the benefits
When a parent works and pays Social Security taxes, he or she accumulates Social Security credits. These credits are redeemable by his or her children when any of the above situations happen to the parent.
Application for Children’s Benefits
The most convenient way to make application is to visit the Social Security website. You can also call SSA directly any day of the week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.However, you may need to check for eligibility by completing eligibility questionnaire . Basing on the answers you gave for the questions, the system will return a list of benefits you may qualify for.
When applying for benefits for a minor, you need to have the parent’s Social Security number, the most recent W-2 forms, child's birth certificate, and the child’s Social Security number. Other documents may be required depending on the situation under which one makes the application. For instance, if you are applying for the benefits because of a death of the parent, then you will have to provide proof of death. Similarly, if you are applying for the benefit for a disabled parent or child, you will need medical evidence to prove the disability. But, if you miss any document, do not refrain from applying. Some of the information can be sought from the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics.
If you are the caretaker of the child, you will receive the amount on behalf of the child. If the child is not disabled, the benefits you will stop receiving the benefits when the child turns 16.
Amount payable for each child
Generally, not all children are received the same amount. Child's Insurance Benefits is equal 50% of the full retirement benefits the parent would have received. This applies to children whose parents are still alive. Children whose parents have died can receive up to 75%. This is not affected even if the parent opted for early retirement. For cases of multiple children from the same family, each child is entitled to full child benefits as long as they do not exceed 150-180% of the worker's basic benefit amount. If the total amount accrued to family members exceeds this limit, then each child will receive a reduced amount proportionately to the maximum limit.
In most cases, children wouldn’t receive income that warrants taxation. However, if a child who receives the benefits has other sources of income, some portion of the child’s benefits may be taxable. So, parents who have children who receive child's benefits must consider the children income separately from their own when working out the taxable income.
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