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I just got notice of a favorable decision from SSA, do my children also recieve benefits?

Yes, if your children are under the age of 18 (up to 19 if still attending high school), they are eligible for benefits.  Your stepchildren, who live with you full time, may also be eligible for benefits from your account.  In order to recieve benefits for your children a separate application must be filled out.  You or your representative should file this application as soon as you receive notice of a favorable decision for any children who are primarily in your custody.

If your children are not primarily in your custody, then the custodial parent is entitled to receive the benefits for those children.  The custodial parent must file this application with SSA.

Social Security does have a maximum family benefit, which is usually 150 to180% of the parent’s benefit amount.  This may mean that each child could receive a different benefit amount.

This calculation can become important if your children are not primarily in your custody and you are paying child support or if some of your children are in your custody but others are not.  In some states, any benefit received to a child from your Social Security Record may count towards your child support payments.  If you are awarded Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to consult with a Family Law attorney in your state to determine how this award could impact your child support obligation.

You should note that Social Security can pay the child payments in the order the applications were submitted, not the age of the child.    Also, children’s benefits are retroactive, just as your benefits are.  These benefits are subject to attorney fee withholding if the fee based on your back pay was less then the $6,000.00 maximum.  They may also be subject to offset by a LTD policy, depending on your policy rules.  You should seek out a knowledgeable Social Security Attorney to assist you in handling these issues.

For more information see SSA pub. 10085