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Minor children of retired fathers eligible for little-known benefit

Social Security’s Jose Olivero discusses little-known Social Security benefit available to the biological children, stepchildren, adopted children and illegitimate children who are financially dependent upon qualified retirees.
by Paula Burkes Modified: June 12, 2014 at 11:00 am •  Published: June 11, 2014

Q&A with Jose M. Olivero

Minor children of retired dads qualify for little-known benefit

Q: In the spirit of Father’s Day, I’d like to revisit a Social Security benefit of which many fathers, ages 62 and older, are unaware. If fathers are drawing Social Security benefits and have minor children at home, are those children eligible for a monthly benefit?

A: Yes. Most people know children can draw on the earnings records of deceased or disabled parents, but are unaware they also can draw on the records of retired parents. The rationale is the parent is out of the workforce, and consequently, there may be financial stress on the family. The benefit applies to mothers as well as fathers, but men often have second families after they’re widowed or divorced, so they’re more likely to have minor children at home in their retirements. Meanwhile, retired mothers may have adopted children, adopted grandchildren or stepchildren at home.

Q: So adopted children are eligible?

A: Biological children, stepchildren, adopted children and illegitimate children may qualify for the benefit. A child must be dependent upon the worker to qualify for benefits on the worker’s Social Security record. With stepchildren, the minor must live with the Social Security recipient and the retiree must be financially responsible for half of the child’s support.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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