Things you should know about Survivor Benefits for Children

Generally, children are the most affected when there is a deceased parent in the family, so, to protect them, the Social Security Administration provides survivor benefits to help with the financial stability during this hard time.

These are part of the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program, which gives the family a monthly income to cover their expenses.

In this article, we will highlight the main things you should know about this subject, such as eligibility, amounts, and how to apply.

What are Survivor Benefits?

In simple words, if a worker is eligible to collect Social Security benefits, he can leave these benefits to his family in the event of his death; it functions as a Plan B in case something unexpected happens.

These payouts can be collected by one of the members of the family, like the spouse, dependent parents, or children. In this article, we will focus on the children.

Benefits for children

survivor benefits for children

Eligibility criteria

First, your dependent child must be unmarried.

Second, the word “dependent” refers to:

  • A biological child.
  • A stepchild (if he or she has been living with you on a regular basis).
  • An adopted child.
  • A grandchild.

Third, the age limit is:

  • Younger than 18 years.
  • 18 or 19 years old enrolled in a full-time secondary or elementary school.
  • Older than 18 years, but with a disability that began before age 22.


Now, you are probably wondering how much does a child gets from a deceased parent? This depends primarily on the worker’s earnings and credits; if you earn more, the benefits will be better.

According to the Social Security Administration, a child can receive “up to 75 percent” of the worker’s benefit. If the parent is still alive, it will be only 50 percent.

However, if there are more eligible members in the family group, they can only pay up to 150 and 180 percent; that is the maximum amount.

Required documents to apply

When applying, you will need some documents to sustain the case, such as:

  • The child’s birth certificate, or adoption certificate (if any)
  • The child’s and parent’s Social Security numbers.
  • Proof of citizenship of the child and parents.
  • Marriage certificate, or divorce decree (if any).
  • Death certificate of the deceased parent.
  • US military discharge papers (if any).
  • A checkbook or any other paper that shows your bank account number.

On the other hand, in this link, you can see more detailed information about the documents and the questions the representatives will ask you.

questions when applying for survivor benefits

How to apply?

Since every case is different, you cannot apply online to get survivors benefits. The only way is through phone or a personal appointment in a Social Security office.

The phone number available for applications is: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778); you can call from Monday through Friday, between 8 am and 5:30 pm.

And you can search for your nearest office in this online locator: