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Survivor Benefits for Children of SSD Recipients

Survivor Benefits social security benefits Montgomery Alabama

Social Security disability benefits can be a lifeline for qualifying recipients. But when someone who receives these benefits passes away, their family can be left scrambling to make ends meet. That’s why the Social Security Administration awards survivor benefits to qualifying family members. In the wake of a loved one’s death, navigating financial challenges can make an already painful time even harder. Let us help you explore your options and find out if you’re supposed to receive survivor benefits. Call The Dansby Law Firm at 334-326-6449 to set up a consultation with our team right away.


Eligibility for Survivor Benefits

Children younger than 18 may be entitled to benefits after the death of a parent who qualified for SSDI benefits. These benefits are based on their parent’s earnings history. A child who receives benefits generally does so until age 19 as long as they are attending high school. In the event that the child is disabled prior to the age of 22, they can receive their parent’s benefits regardless of age. Per the SSA, the goal of children’s benefits is to stabilize the family so the child can finish school in a safe environment.

These benefits are not limited to an individual’s biological and adopted children. In some circumstances, stepchildren, grandchildren, and step-grandchildren can also receive survivor benefits.


Applying for Benefits

The application process is fairly straightforward, especially if the decedent was already receiving benefits at the time of their passing. You must report their death immediately to the SSA so that they can stop future payments; any payments made after the individual’s death will need to be paid back.

To begin survivor benefits, make sure you have the child’s birth certificate or proof of adoption. You may need to provide a death certificate proving that their parent passed away. If the child is over 18 but was disabled prior to the age of 22, you may also need proof of their disability to initiate benefits.

Unless your child is disabled, benefits will end when they turn 18 or shortly thereafter. The SSA will try to prepare you for this change ahead of time. You’ll receive a notice a few months before their birthday. But if they are still attending high school, you can continue benefits—but the school will need to send a statement of attendance indicating that they are still a full-time student. You will then receive a notice about benefits ending when the child graduates or two months after they turn 19.


Maximizing Benefits Over Time

If other people in the family receive benefits, it’s important to note that there are limits. Keeping this in mind can help a family budget and make the most of the benefits they receive. There is a cap on how much a child can receive; they do not get their parent’s full monthly benefits.

If other people in the family receive survivor benefits, their total monthly payment is capped at 150% to 180% of the decedent’s full benefit amount. The actual limit depends on the specifics of the case, the age of those receiving benefits, and other factors. If the amount a family receives monthly would exceed this amount, benefits are decreased across the board until they are within limits.

We understand that this process can be overwhelming and confusing, especially if you’re trying to grapple with your grief at the same time that you are trying to get a hold of your family’s finances. Working with a Montgomery, AL disability attorney can help you calculate the benefits your family is entitled to, figure out when those benefits will end, and navigate this process. The sooner you talk to a lawyer after your loved one’s death, the sooner you can get your finances under control and begin to move forward.


Confused About Your Right to Benefits? Call The Dansby Law Firm

If you believe that you or your child (or both of you) are entitled to survivor benefits after a loved one’s death, the team at The Dansby Law Firm can help you understand your options and next steps. Set up a consultation with our Montgomery team now by calling us at 334-326-6449 or sending us a quick message online.

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