Can adopted children receive Social Security benefits because of parent’s disability?

Children can get Social Security benefits if they have a parent who is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI)20 CFR 404.350 is the regulation dealing with who is entitled to Social Security child’s benefits. Generally, the child has to qualify as the parent’s child (more on this in a moment), be dependent on the parent, unmarried, and under 18.

What happens in cases of grandparents, step-parents, or parents who adopt children? Are their children entitled to Social Security child’s benefits?

Social Security has a number of regulations used to decide if a child in these circumstances qualify for auxiliary benefits.

Even if none of these regulations apply (for example: in cases of a guardianship), you may still want to talk to someone at Social Security to see if the children might qualify under this or another Social Security program.

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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  • diann

    i am adopting my wifes grand son,can i add him to my S.S.benifites

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  • Zblessedlife

    Yes, if he is under the age of 18. If he is over the age of 18 and has a disability that occured before the age of 22 he can get benifites from the time he became disabled until he turned 18. C all your local SS office and they can set up an appointment.

  • guest

    I have 3 children who where in foster care because their birth mother was diabled from a car accident, should they be able to draw any SSI

  • Starlene27

    I have 2 children who were adopted out. I was forced to let this person adopt them. I have a son who lives with me. I was recently awarded my SS. Can the 2 children that were adopted out, who i have no legal responsibility to, still draw 2/3’s of my sons child benefit check? Social security is telling me that they are goibng to take over half my sons check and send it to the a**hole that adopted my children. Is this true and can i stop it? How do i stop it? Can anyone cite me something that says they cannot draw. I havent even seen my 2 older kids is 9 years.
    Btw it was by force that he ado0pted my kids. Please do not judge me on here because you do not know the entire story, which i am not discussing on here.

  • Tony

    I’m on social security disability and have taken legal custody of our grandchild. Is he entitled to any kind of social security benefits.

  • Tony

    I applied for social security benefits while my son was 18 years old or younger. It took along time to recieve my social security disability but I got it. Can I recieve benefits for my son because he was under 18 or he was only 18 when I applied. Like back pay or something

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Tony.

    He might be. See:

    You can give Social Security a call and they give you a definitive answer and walk you through how to apply for his benefits if he is entitled.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    There are back benefits in auxiliary benefits cases. So, if a child was eligible at the time of application, but later aged-out, it may be possible for that child to still get auxiliary benefits. Social Security can address whether anything can be done your situation at this time.

    Good luck!

  • Disability Benefits

    If an adopted child was receiving being benefits before being adopted, can the child still continue to receive benefits even if the adopted parent has a substantial income?

    I know this is probably a very rare case, but I was just curious. Thanks!

  • Rhkoelsch

    If a child receives benefits from a deceased parent and is adopted by a step parent, can he still receive benefits from the deceased parent? 

  • TomaszStasiuk

     I had to ask around to get an answer. From what I hear, adoption after the death of the parent (and the awarding of survivor’s benefits) should not stop benefits. However, I encourage you to verify this, and make sure that this applies in your specific circumstances, with your local Social Security office. 

  • adopting mommy

    The child can receive benfits if they were set up and being received prior to the adoption. 

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Thanks for commenting. Tomorrow’s post goes over this very topic.

  • Lena delcampo

    The only way the child can recieve auxiliary benefits is if you were to adopt him becuase when you adopt himthe state looks at him as you child and which he would be your child.

  • Lena elcampo

    If the adoption was legal then no they can not take any money for the other two kids. But if you were ordered to pay child support b4 the adoption went through and did not pay then yes they can take it to pay off the money that was owed.

  • Turnerlarry92

    I draw ssi, my step son draws ssi, my wife and i would like to know if i adopt him would it affect either check. We also have another son together who draws off me.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    SSI amounts are based on all sources of income coming into the house. So, there is possibility of this affecting your benefits. Call your local SSA office. Or, for an idea of what SSA may tell you, try Social Security Advice Online. They are a national company made up of former Social Security managers. Note: this is a private company not affiliated with the Social Security Administration. You can reach them at and (513) 860-5924 , (513) 779-7439. 

  • Nonlyme2020

    I just adopted a child and it has been finalized. The judge told me and my husband that our son can recieve benefits through Social Security. The judge said he will qualifiy for some kind of adoption benefit through Social Security. But I really didn’t understand what he was saying so can you help me understand it better?

  • Lenadelcampo

    Was your son adopted through the state? If he was then if his parents were on drugs or has mental issues then you can get the check you been getting for him through the state because he may have mental issue and or issues do to the drug use. I get the check for my adopted son still because he was a drug baby and his dad has mental issues.

  • Lenadelcampo

    If the child was getting the benefits from his parents then I dont think so. Once you adopt the child then that child is yours like the other parents never was there.

  • Lenadelcampo

    Yes you can.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Take a look at the following:

  • Deb

    We have lived togeather for 9 yrs. as of May,2011 we both share legal guardianship of my grandaughter age 2. He recieves social security.I am on disibility,but not on SSI (insured by job).Can we apply for benifits for her through his social security, even if we are not married?  

  • carol44

    A legal adoption of a child that gets ss for being born of a drug addicted mother have that benefit taken away, due to the childs excellent health (age9) and doesnt need it. and the childs adopted mother just blows the money and the child get nothing and wears old rages for cloths.
      And the real mother has cleaned up her act and has been straight and doing great for almost 3 yrs can the real mother get the child back.  She has daily contact with the child that is adopted.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    I do not practice in the area of custody. I encourage you to contact a family law attorney in your area.

  • Deb

    We have Guardianship of our grandaughter. Social Security told us that she must be adopted by us to get benifits.

  • Shnnpopl

    if a man is on disability and has 3 biological children who receive child support through this, if he marries a woman with a child of her own ( not his) and he adopts the child will that child receive benefits?

  • Denice Kilchrist

    im on disabily and my granddaughter is living with me as a ward of the state she has been in a mental hospital twice in six months is there any way she can get ssi or something she gets no money from the state she is 12 yrs old and suffers from depression and shes bi polar

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Possibly. Disabled children can receive Social Security benefits in their own right: 

    For specific information about whether your granddaughter may qualify, I encourage you to contact Social Security.

  • Stewartsx6

    I adopted twins in 2010. Their birth father died in 2009. Our caseworker put in for SS for them before the adoption went through. There was no proof (long story) that he died before 2010 but now there is. Do I reapply? Or has it been too long?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    I can’t tell you. You would have to contact Social Security directly. 

  • mars

    if i receive my soical security benfits i know my adopted children will however will i still get an adoption subsides check from the state as well

  • melinda

    I have a child in my home that is receiving benefits from his deceased parents, we have now adopted the child, will he still qualify for the benefits from his previous parents?

  • Gabriel

    I have 2 adopted children, whose biological mother was a cocaine addict. Both children were born with a cocaine withdrawal. Are they eligible to receive social security benefits?

  • TomaszStasiuk
  • Pamela Vanlandingham

    If I had to adopt my granddaughter, due to both parents being on drugs,I already have her full time, cloth her, feed her, send her to school and make sure she has a safe and secure place to live, with no help from either parent, would that effect my Social Security Disability, or would I receive any more money to help compensate me to be able to raise her, we barely make it now…Thanks for your help.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    A lot depends on the kind of Social Security disability you receive. Aux benefits are only available in SSDI cases. If you are receiving SSDI, aux benefits may be available to an adopted child.

    However, it is possible that the caring for a child might result in Social Security reviewing your disability status. You mention you “have her full time, cloth her, feed her, send her to school and make sure she has a safe and secure place to live, with no help from either parent.” Social Security may wonder if that activity suggests an ability to work. And then it is all about the specific circumstances related to the care of the child, your disabilities and resulting limitations, and how the individual SSA technician responds to them. Boiling it down to one question, could the parenting performed be viewed as inconsistent with underlying disability?

    Certainly, there are plenty of parents on disability and their benefits do not stop because they care for children. In your case though, the care of a child is a new wrinkle.

    I can’t tell you how Social Security will respond (or even if this would be an issue). I am just noting that it might be an issue.

  • Knick

    I have been unemployed for 2 years and my mother I going to adopt my son in order to provide him with a better life.
    Will my child qualify to receive SS benefits if my mother is currently receiving SS benefits because she is retired?

  • isabella

    hey guys i have question, my sister friends is adopted and her birth moms gave the girl to her aunt. so now the poor girl is struggle to pay for her school , because her adopted mom wont give her money. the little girl is only 14 . we think that her mom might get ss because she getting food stamps and medical care for her is there anyway we can find out thanks for help.

  • grieving

    I have a question, my brother just died and my 16 year old niece receives social security. Will she lose that if I adopt her?

  • SadPapa

    if my daughter is adopted during a brutal custody battle by the new spouse of my ex-wife, is her eligibility for benefits jeopardized?

  • sue

    I have a question my daughter was already expecting a baby when she started dateing and eventuley moved in with this man he was an older man and received social security when the baby was born he wanted to raise him as his on son the babys real father doesn’t claim are want him the man that is raiseing him went before the social security adminastation and swore that he was the babys real dad and he gave the baby his last name and the baby is receiveing a check off of him now the mom and this man are seperateing and he don’t want the baby anymore the lil boy is 13 months old can this man just take his name back and stop his benafits just cuz he changed his mind and don’t want him

  • cyndi

    Would a child that receives ss survivor benifits still receive the benefits if they are adopted.

  • Hoey Joey

    What if a child is adopted and the biological mother dies can they draw off of the mother even though the adoptive parents are responsible for the child?

  • jj

    I have 2 kids thats received ssi from their biological father but its not much my husband supports them and evey way takes them to the doctor when have to work are whatever the father does nothing dont call dont buy anything so can my husband be a legal gardian over them bc he takes them to all appointment because I work

  • jackie

    what did you kind out i have a adopted son who bio mom just dies

  • stacysmith

    can my husband recieve an ssi check if he legally adopts my son? his biological dad has been absent from his life since i was pregnant with him? can someone help me please?