My child turned 16, and my Social Security benefits were stopped

Why did Social Security cut off my benefits after my child turned 16?

If a parent dies, the surviving spouse may be eligible for benefits if he or she is caring for a the deceased’s child and the child is under 16 years old or disabled. These are called Mother’s and Father’s benefits.  See 20 CFR Section 404.339 for more information.

Mother’s and Father’s benefits are separate from the survivor’s benefits the child may be entitled to due to the death of a parent. This is a little known subset of Social Security benefits.

There are a number of ways these benefits may stop:

  1. You remarry. The exception to this is if you remarry someone entitled to old-age, disability, wife’s, husband’s, widow’s, widower’s, father’s, mother’s, parent’s or disabled child’s benefits. See. 20 CFR 404.341.
  2. The child turns 16 (if the child is not disabled).
  3. The child is 16 or older and Social Security decides that the child is no longer disabled (you do not actively supervise his or her activities and you do not make important decisions about is or her needs; or, it is not necessary for you to perform personal services for him or her such as dressing, feeding, and managing money that the child cannot do alone because of a disability). See 20 CFR 404.348.
  4. The child is no longer in your care. See 20 CFR 404.349.

For more information see 20 CFR 404.339.

I thought children could get benefits until age 18 or 19?

Yes, that is true.  Children’s benefits due to a death of a parent continue until age 18 or 19 (depending on whether the child is in school).  However, mother’s or father’s benefits end when the child turns 16. See 20 CFR 404.350.

Note: while the mother’s or father’s benefits may have ended, the child may still be eligible for children’s benefits for a few more years.

Updated 04/30/09.

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Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .

About Tomasz Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk is a Colorado Springs Social Security disability lawyer and the founding attorney of the Stasiuk Firm - a law firm specializing in Social Security disability cases in Colorado. Follow Tomasz Stasiuk on Google and Twitter

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  • Susan

    Hi,

    I am an attorney in California, and am having trouble finding an answer to this question: if both a child's parents die (let's say, simultaneously in a car crash), is the child entitled to receive survivor benefits from each parent (assuming each parent has enough credits and otherwise qualifies)?

    We are doing an estate planning for our daughter. We have saving and life insurance, but I am curious to know if she would qualify for both my and my husband's benefits.

    Thank you.

  • Susan

    Hi,

    I am an attorney in California, and am having trouble finding an answer to this question: if both a child's parents die (let's say, simultaneously in a car crash), is the child entitled to receive survivor benefits from each parent (assuming each parent has enough credits and otherwise qualifies)?

    We are doing an estate planning for our daughter. We have saving and life insurance, but I am curious to know if she would qualify for both my and my husband's benefits.

    Thank you.

  • nanettesmith

    They will most likely receive benefits on the parent with the higher amount but not on both.

  • Aliceknotts

    I just want to say that I don't think it is fair that a child can only receive benefits from only one parent. Some of these congressional laws make me violently ill. I have an adult disabled
    child whose dad is deceased and I am currently receiving ssb from my work record.My child
    is receiving benefits from her dad's work record which is more than mine. I think she should be
    entitled to both. We both worked and paid into the system and it took both of us to conceive
    her. Their laws really suck sometimes.

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