Social Security Auxiliary benefits for children in a separate household

A reader asked if a child can still receive Social Security auxiliary benefits if she is living apart from the disabled parent:

If I have legal guardianship of my nephew and my sister is receiving SSDI. Can I apply to receive the benefits for his caretaking? My sister has been told that she could receive benefits for him, but unless she gets to keep it, she won’t apply for it, saying that the SS office told her it was only if he lived with her. Is that true or could I apply for him?

This is similar to a situation I wrote about concerning divorced parents. Children with disabled parents are still eligible for Social Security auxiliary benefits even if they are living apart from the disabled parent. Please note: the disabled parent has to be receiving Title 2: Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB). If the parent is receiving only Title 16: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then there are no auxiliary benefits available.

The applicable regulation is 29 CFR 404.350 which describes when children are entitled to auxiliary benefits:

(a) General. You are entitled to child’s benefits on the earnings record of an insured person who is entitled to old-age or disability benefits or who has died if—

(1) You are the insured person’s child, based upon a relationship described in §§404.355 through 404.359;

(2) You are dependent on the insured, as defined in §§404.360 through 404.365;

(3) You apply;

(4) You are unmarried; and

(5) You are under age 18; you are 18 years old or older and have a disability that began before you became 22 years old; or you are 18 years or older and qualify for benefits as a full-time student as described in §404.367.

Basically, a child is entitled to auxiliary benefits if a parent is disabled or has died, if they are the parent’s natural child, adopted child, step child, or grand child, unmarried, under 18 (or a Disabled Adult Child) and dependent on the disabled parent.

There is no requirement that the child live with the disabled parent.

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


  • Kim

    I am in process of having full custody of my developmentally disabled nephew, who will live with us full time. He has been living with my mother since he was about 3, he is now 11. His father (my brother) and his wife are DD as well. We were told my nephews SSI and medicaid may be dropped. He has medical issues and his medications are costly every month. Are his benefits based on his disability or our income? Any info you can pass on would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  • Kim

    Correction this is Kim again, we have guardianship of my nephew not full custody

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Take a look at “How parent’s income effects children’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits” –

  • Kim

    Thank you for your response. Is there a grid or income limit chart I can pull up?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    I don't have anything like that. If you find one, let me know.

  • kris

    my children are 22 and 20 and i have been disabled for 11 years can they get their back pay everytime i inquired i was told that i already receive their money but i have not received anything. i moved alot and wonder if they have hadchecks going to an old address

  • Kingabrown

    Please help me out with something. As of today my family receives SSAbenefits( my husband is disabled) . My child and I receive benefits as well. My question is: what happens to those benefits if I decide to move out of the household and file for a divorce. I assume that our daughter will still be receiving benefits. Will my benefits stop? How that works? I’m trying to find out how to manage my finances at the beginning of our new life,away from my husband.

  • Itsmurphysway13

    I live in nyc my ex-spouse receives 1100 a month from me in child support, last year she received an additional 852 a month from my social sec disability for my son, can that be offset on what I pay in child support in new york

  • TomaszStasiuk

    The intersection of Social Security disability and child support is tricky. I discussed the issue of garnishment here:

    However, I don’t have an answer on the reverse situation: offsetting child support because of Social Security benefits.

    A family law attorney in your area should be able to help you answer this question. All my best!

  • Anita watson

    My son was told by his father he should have received disability benefits from him because he was or is disabled how could me and my son find out if this is true? We are divorced and live in two different states. My son is now 19 years old and he was just told this last month. Help!!!!

  • TomaszStasiuk

    I am not aware of a process that can be followed under these particular circumstance. One way to investigate this would be for the disabled parent and the now adult child to contact Social Security to see if the child is/was eligible for Social Security auxiliary benefits and to see if anything can be done about it now.

  • Nitejoy

    I live in NY also. I am going thru a similar situation now. I receive child support and in the process of receiving social security disability for my son from his father. He was recently told that he has to go back to court and apply for the benefits to go towards his child support. Like I said we are in the process now, so I am not yet sure of the outcome. But you should try.

  • Violetcrews

    how do i fine out if my daughters farther got her on his socialsercurty aqnd how much money is owed to her

  • TomaszStasiuk

    I would start by asking the father and contacting Social Security.

  • MommyE

    My daughter currently receives SS beneifts on behalf of her father who recieves SSDI. I recently learned he is going to have another child. If he applies for benefits for the new child, will it affect the amount of benefits my daughter currently receives? Also should I file for child support as well?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Possibly. That is in response to the first question. :)

    Children can receive half of the disabled parent’s disability benefit amount. However, all the auxiliary benefits combined (aux benefits to the spouse or other children) cannot exceed the “family maximum.” If the family maximum is exceeded, all auxiliary benefits are reduced to keep the combined benefits . Note: the family maximum differs from case to case.

    Adding another beneficiary at the same benefit amount might put everyone over the family maximum. So, everyone’s aux benefits would be reduced.

    I cannot comment on whether you should file for child support.

  • MommyE


  • Pwoosley

    i have been drawing disability and my 15 year old daughter gets a check also.

    recently my daughter has been doing some things that she should not have done. she got placed in a in patient facility and then childrens protective services stepped in and took custody. she is not placed in a drug rehab center for approximately 60 days. will we get the usual check while she is there?

    also if a child goes into foster care temporarily, does the benefits stop until she comes back home?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Individuals who receive Social Security benefits based **on their own disability** and are confined to public facility for 30 days can have their benefits cut to $30:

    However, I do not know if that applies to individuals receiving auxiliary benefits (benefits paid because of a parent’s or spouse’s disability).

    Regarding the foster care issue, a child’s auxiliary benefits are meant to be used for the child’s benefit. If the child is no longer in the household (due to being placed in foster care), I do not see how that can be accomplished.

    I encourage you to contact SSA for answers about your specific situation.

  • Kslugher

    i would like to know if my x is collecting ssi from her now husband who is deseased  for my kids but she can collect it from me what should i do

  • TomaszStasiuk

    I don’t know how an individual would go about getting this information. Perhaps your divorce attorney might have an idea.

  • KDC

    So what happens if the child lives with each parent 50% of the time (separated, not divorced), can the payee of the auxilaiary benefit  be the disabled worker or does it have to be the mother?

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  • Kerri_ann1

    My daughter receives ssdi and a ssi check for my grandson, the amount
    she receives for both is not enough for her to properly provide for her
    and my granchild, at this time I have to take my grandson in will I also
    receive this payment for him and if so will it remain the same or does
    it change because he is in a different household does the family maximum
    still come into play?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    My understanding is that the family maximum applies to auxiliary benefits regardless of which household the child is in. However, I am not clear as to how the child receives SSI unless the child is also disabled. To determine what will happen if the child changes households, I can only refer you to SSA: 1-800-772-1213.

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  • Gwen Jones

    My daughter and her boyfriend (unmarried) recently had a baby. No paternity issues-he is on the birth certificate as the father. He receives SSDI as a result of being disabled before the age of 18-therefore from his father’s disabilityand subsequent death. It is my understanding that he will continue to receive SSDI as long as he does not marry. He has never been able to work, and has no work credits. My question is, are there any “auxilliary” benefits available for their child under the father’s SSDI (actually the grandfather’s SSDI) ? My daughter works part-time only.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    A grandchild can sometimes receive benefits based on the grandparents earnings record. However, my understanding is that the is no automatic auxiliary benefit available for the children of an individual receiving disabled adult child (DAC) benefits. I could be wrong about that though. Check your local Social Security office to address your specific circumstances. 

  • PhilipCrockett

    I am receiving SSDI & I have a daughter thats 20.She is disabled and was b4 22.I also had been paying C.S. for her brother and her until 2008.In 2008 simultaneously I was hurt on the job never able to return to work,& I did a paternity test on her 14yrd brother not mine.He was living with me 4 a yr got into trouble and went back to live with his mother.He’s been incarcerated since age 17.TX C.S. refused to stop billing me for both children in spite of 1 being in jail & the other 1 turning 18.The arrears have mounted to 27k and last mo they started garnishing my SSDI.Why are they telling me that the auxiliary benefits can’t be used instead of garnishing my SSDI?My SSDI was reduced from 1158pm to 684.30pm.There’s around 650 left in my auxiliary benefits…what can I do I live in Ga where the original child support order was from? 678-914-3845

  • PhilipCrockett

    Also my daughter is now receiving SSI for her own disability.They told me she could not receive both her benefit and mine she could only pick 1.The mother is trying to dangle the child support over her head by telling her she is going to give it to her but has not.Daughter also hasn’t lived full time with the mother since age16.

  • Abbygabbygold

    I have a foster child who i receive a foster care monthly amount. I have had the child for 10 months and have known him since birth 11 years ago. Recently social security called me and asked me to report on benefits payed for the year. I stated I never had received benefits and that I get foster care money. It turns out that the childs mother who has not had custody since nov-2010 has been receiving and using the childs auxillary social security payments of child support from his disabled non custodial father. Social security asked that I come in and become the childs representative payee before they could give me all this info. I went in and became My foster childs new representative payee. Social security than asked that I call the bio mother up and make a demand for the last 10 months of payments. I did this with the case worker on a conference call. The mother was violatile but admitted to using the money and stated there was none left, and that she was well within her rights to use the money to live on, for gas, and to repair her car so that she could go to court for the case regarding her child. she also stated that she was using the money for her son by maintaining all her visitations with her child and bringing things to him in her weekly visits. The caseworker pointed out to her that her visits were all monitored and that she had never brought any money,support of any kind or clothing to any visits. The bottom line is that the mother is making problems for me already by reporting me to social security and stating I have no rights to the funds. Currently Social Security suspended the payments to the mother and assigned them to me as well as reported the misuse of funds to something called the OIG.
    I have a few questions.
    1. Is the child able to legally receive these auxillary payments as well as the Foster care payment?
    2. Can the state take the Auxillary payment to pay back the Foster care payment?
    3. Can the mother use the money the way she stated to us or Can His mother finally be prosecuted for doing
        this?  it seems this has been her pattern all his life. and if so will social security take this seriously?
    4. What kind of damage can the mother do to me for becoming his new rep payee? social security already let 
        me know that she has been calling in reporting even before I have received anything for this child. I had to
        put a code word on the account to verify it is me and also they said that changes can only be made in
        person with picture ID because of the mothers behavior.
    5. Will the child see any of this money that was taken? considering the mother is judgement proof.
        (I feel she seems to get away with fraudulent behavior often)

  • TomaszStasiuk

    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. 

  • Doubleobacon

    Hey Phillip contact either your state attorney generals office or see if cs office has a modification workshop……..Its against the law for your ex or anybody to double deep….in other words their might be a good chance the state adjusts your arrears! Have all your findings and paperwork with copies to provide!

  • Web design London

    I recently learned he is going to have another child. If he applies for benefits for the new child, will it affect the amount of benefits my daughter currently receives? Also should I file for child support as well?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Take a look at

  • شقق للبيع في الاردن

    Regarding the foster care issue, a child’s auxiliary benefits are meant
    to be used for the child’s benefit. If the child is no longer in the
    household (due to being placed in foster care), I do not see how that
    can be accomplished.

  • J0e6chip

    The Auxiliary benefit comes out of my benefit. There is no support ordered, and I have primary residence. The benefit is sent to the other household.  I live in Maine. My daughter receives Social Security Auxiliary benefits because of my disability. Her mother and I are divorced. We have equal parental rights and I have had had primary residence for the past 6 months. At the divorce no support was ordered and I was to support my daughter at my home, and her mother was supposed to support her at hers. There has never been any child support ordered. After the Divorce Judgment, her mother applied for and became her payee.  I notified Social Security of the change in residence. I have provided them with copies of the court orders. I also requested to be her payee. Her mother is disputing any change in payee. She has told them that she supports my daughter at my home with what is left over (nothing).  My daughter lives with me. I take care of her daily expenses at my home, and medical, dental, orthodontic and psychological related expenses. She visits her mother from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.  My daughters mother makes twice as much as I get, not including the benefit. I understand that we both have electrical bills, and phone bills, and housing expenses. It doesn’t really matter that my daughter has to share a room over there but she has huge entertainment expenses at her mothers. Technically as long as her mother has bills that are greater than my daughters benefit, I was told that her benefit is being used to take care of my daughter. Is there anything I can do to help Social Security understand that I need to receive my daughters benefit to support her in my home even if it is being used to support her at her mother’s home for the 4 days she is there a month? In short: I am disabled. I have primary residence. My daughters auxiliary benefit payee is her other parent. I was told that her benefit is being used for her care during visitation. Is there a way I be deemed to have greater need because I provide more of her care?

  • Angelamullins876

    My husband and I currently separated. He commented adultery, and now I am in the process of filing for divorce. He is also in the process of getting disability. Our 9-year-old daughter lives with me.  She is suppose to be receiving auxiliary benefits. Also, if his claim is approved. Will she get back paid, and will it come to me because she lives with me?  Or do I have to have primary custody of her?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Auxiliaries (including parents who take care of children under 16) can get back benefits. However, I cannot guess who the payee will be.

    For specific information about your circumstances, I encourage you to contact Social Security.

  • tracy

    if i have a child that’s entitled to ssdi benefits from his biologicle father, am i also eligable even though i  was married to someone else and still am

  • Darj12002

    I have been paying $718.00 per month for one child to child support for the last 2 years.  My ex spouse receives disability from social security and has been receiving $726.00 per month for the child in addition to her payment from social security.  Is there a law that states I have to pay child support 20% of my Disibilty from the Veterans Administration, thats my only income. 

  • FLgirl12

    I just called the main SS office to inquire about payments based on my ex’s disability. I have an appt soon in my area with the local office. I am trying to find out though…I was told that my son should be eligible for 50% of what his father receives. The person at the main SS office told me that ex has been on disability since 2009, but I am just finding out. I asked the man if my son would be eligible for any retro amount because he should have been receiving this amount since 2009. He said he thought it would go back a year. Does anyone know if there is such a thing as a retro payment because he should have been receiving these payments already. Or did this person not know what he was talking about? Or would the retro be just what I get after I apply and I am waiting for the first benefit check? I am praying he gets a retro payment so I can get him a car. He is 16.

  • Eagle

    I am receiving SSD my wife and I are separated and she was getting a check for the two boys, 9 and 16. The 16 year old just moved to Ca to live with me. She said she changed where his check goes but he hasn’t received one and he’s been here for two months. How can I find out if she did it and where it is going. I already set up a bank account in his name to be direct deposit. Also, when I tried to ask the people at the SS office, they said they couldn’t give me that information. What can I do?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    SSA should be able to set up where the auxiliary benefits go if a child changes his or her residence. This should not require the release of information concerning where any other auxiliary benefits go. It may just be a matter of asking to change where your son’s benefits go rather than asking SSA to release information about where the other benefits are being sent.

    If a person believes auxiliary benefits are being misused, such as benefits being claimed for a child no longer living with a parent, an individual can ask SSA to investigate.

    Good luck Eagle!

  • Linda G

    I was wondering if my disabled son’s benefits can be switched from SSI to SSDI. He is getting SSI because of the time he worked, but he is also the disabled child of a deceased worker whose disability began before age 22 (at birth).

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Give your local SSA office a call or contact the national toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. They should be able to determine if your son is eligible for any additional benefits. He will likely need to be present, to allow SSA to release information to you. Good luck!

  • judy

    my 16 year ould grandaughter wants to move away from her mother. how can she get her stepfather ssi check to come to her.

  • dahlia

    please give me ur advise i have a three year old daughter my daughter is living with me her father and i are not living together he is married and living with his family, he wants to claim social security benefit for my daughter it this possible

  • Jennie

    Please help me!! my step mother had custody of my child since he was 3 months old she recently passed away and she was receiving social security.. my father also has custody and my son is living with him. could my son get death benefits from social security since his grandmother passed away and was on social security?

  • Paulie Mccann

    Can an ex spouse (who is a grandfather) be made to pay past benefits on his grandchild. She is now adopted and her biological parents signed their parental rights.

  • Dixie Wright

    I am on ssi, and my god daughter just moved ib with me. Her mother is giving me guardianship. Can i get benefits for her?

  • TomaszStasiuk
  • flo

    My daughter died her husband and the 2 small children is getting survivors benefits. They lived in their own house when she died and now they live with me 4 days a week I feed them buy cloths for them also. The father has moved in with his girl friend and 2children and gets his kids on the weekend his girl friend live in a 2 bed room apartment. He do not give use anything to help out with the kids. Is it right for him to spend the children check where he live now?

  • angeli

    I have fiancée we live together more than 8years. we have child 7years old now. but my fiancce and I live in the Philippines more than 8years now too. my fiancée die last year. can our son receive a benefits through him even my son is not US citizen?

  • Jim

    My son is 43 and receives SSI (he has never been employed). Is there any way he can collect my regular Social Security payments after I die? He has always lived with me and I consider him a dependent.

  • Sara

    If my daughter gets ssi and I’m dealing with foster care but she’s placed with her aunt can I her mother still be payee and make sure it goes on her???

  • melroses

    How can I remove my son ssdi that are under me. He is planning to move in with his father in American Samoa Soon. His father can’t be here in US mainland to sign as a payee for my son? What should I do. I need more information about it.

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  • Tabitha Birchfield

    I need advice !
    My daughter receives Dependant benefits from her disabled father . He collects SSDI from Alabama .
    My daughter is 9 , she has been his only child until until 3 days ago when his son was born by his girlfriend .
    Will my daughters benefits change ?
    She has been receiving benefits since 2010 .
    He collects 1,600 a month and my daughter gets $800 .
    Will her benefits be split with this new sibling ?

  • Sharon

    Does he send the money to you? I just found out that my ex is on SSDI and has been drawing a check on himself, wife and our son that is now 16 for the last 5 years. I had no idea. I was told by the AG’s office that he has been drawing a check on my son and my son is eligible and that I need to get to the SSA office and get him a check. The SSA office told me that my son will get a check for a lump sum, close out my ex’s case and they will retro pay him back to when his dad first went on SSDI. I have no idea how much my son will get, but is this like crazy or what?

  • twogs

    No,you need to call ss and let them know the children reside with you and they will make you the payee for the childrens survivor benefits. Do so quickly so he wont keep getting those. Its for the children of your late daughter. Im sorry you have to endure this, then have to deal with a selfish surviving father. So sad God Bless, call SSA they will change for you to be the payee of these benefits


  • Jodi Mickay

    No, only title ll has auxilary benefits.

  • Taysia Jackson

    I have two kids ( well babies ages one and two ) by a man I was never married to . He receives both ssi and ssdi. He pays 50$ a month out of his check for child support. He started receiving his money right before my first son with him was born . Do my kids qualify for auxiliary benefits (him and I are not together I have them he does nothing for them and as of now my only income is that fifty a month

  • Kevin Renfrow

    I recently obtained guardianship of my niece because her mother couldnt care for her anymore and is in a bad relationship with a boyfriend. My nieces father is dead and she receives ss benefits.. the judge has ordered that i have guardian ship and i have all the paper work but the check was not mentioned as i did not know at the time she received one. Someone told me all i had to do was turn in my guardianship paper work and the ss admin would change the check over to me since we are the ones supporting her. The check is not my main concern however it is getting expensive taking care of a 13 year old girl!!!

  • Vick

    My sons father is about to recieve ssd benefits and we don’t go together no more. Will I get a check? Or will he have to send me the money? What do I do?