Young People

We protect young people before they start working.

At the end of 2014, about 3.2 million children under the age of 18 were receiving an average monthly benefit of $548 because one or both of their parents are disabled, retired, or deceased. When a parent becomes disabled or dies, Social Security benefits help to stabilize the family’s financial future. In fact:

  • About 327,665 minor children of retired workers were receiving an average monthly benefit of $628.

  • About 1.2 million minor children of deceased workers were receiving an average monthly survivor benefit of $821.

  • About 1.7 million minor children of disabled workers were receiving an average monthly benefit of $335.

These cash benefits help to provide the necessities of life for family members and help to make it possible for those children to complete high school. In fact:

  • About 139,973 students ages 18 and 19 were receiving an average monthly benefit of $703 at the end of 2014.

We protect disabled young adults, even if they've never worked.

An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child's benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits.

The "adult child"—including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild—must be unmarried, age 18 or older, and have a disability that started before age 22.

It is not necessary that the adult child ever work because benefits are paid based on the parent's earnings record. In fact:

  • Approximately 1 million disabled adult children were receiving an average monthly benefit of $751 at the end of 2014.

We also offer financial protection to minor children with disabilities.

Through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, we make monthly payments to the parents or guardians of disabled children. A child younger than age 18 can qualify if he or she meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children, and if his or her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits.