Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Step-Children and Grandchildren as Eligible Dependents

Step-Children and Grandchildren as Eligible Dependents

Children under the age of 18, children under the age of 19 who are still full time students in a secondary school, or children who are over the age of 18 and disabled before they reach the age of 22 could be eligible for benefits based on one or both of their parents being disabled, retired, or deceased. If you receive benefits, your child can get benefits if he or she is your biological child, adopted child, dependent stepchild, or dependent grandchild. To apply for benefits for your child, you will need the child's birth certificate and the parent's and child's Social Security numbers. You may also need additional documentation depending on the type of benefit involved.

A child can be a dependent of a step-parent if the child has been the step-child of the insured parent for at least one year before filing an application. To qualify for survivors benefits, the child must have been the step-child of the insured parent for at least nine months before the step-parent died unless the step-parent had been previously married to the child's natural parent and remarried at the time of the step-parent's death and the nine-month duration-of-relationship requirement was met at the time of the divorce. A step-child's benefits will end upon the child's natural or adoptive parent being divorced from the step-parent.

A child can be a dependent of a grandparent if the grandchild began living with the insured grandparent before the grandchild turned 18; and lived with the grandparent in the U.S. and received at least one-half support from the insured grandparent for the year before the month that the grandparent became entitled to retirement or disability insurance benefits or died; or the year before the month in which the period of disability began, if the grandparent had a period of disability that lasted until they became entitled to benefits or died. A dependent grandchild or step-grandchild may qualify for benefits as the insured grandparent's "child" under two circumstances:

•1. If the grandchild's parents are deceased or disabled at the time the insured grandparent became entitled to retirement or disability insurance benefits or died; or at the beginning of the insured grandparent's period of disability which continued until the grandparent became entitled to retirement or disability insurance benefits or died.

•2. If the grandchild was legally adopted by the grandparent's surviving spouse. In the second circumstance, the grandchild's parent or stepparent must not have been living in the same household and making regular contributions to the child's support at the time the insured grandparent died.

For more information on the Social Security disability benefits and dependents, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today at 251-343-1111 for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to appeals to Federal Court.

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