Adopting Grandchild and SS benefits

Questions & AnswersCategory: Children's BenefitsAdopting Grandchild and SS benefits
DS asked 3 weeks ago

I found your web page while searching for answers on social security benefits when adopting a grandchild.

Our scenario:

My husband and I are in our 50s. We just found out that we have a granddaughter (my son’s daughter) that is currently a ward of the state. We are in a custody battle to try and adopt our granddaughter who is 15 months old. She has been temporarily placed with her maternal great grandmother and final adoption is to be determined in the next few months. The baby’s parents have had their parental rights severed by the state of Arizona.

My husband would be the baby’s step-grandfather and he will be the financial provider. We will not be receiving any assistance from either of the parents, obviously because the parent’s rights have been severed.

Our questions:

–If we prevail in adopting our granddaughter are we entitled to any social security benefits? If so, when? Not that it matters as it doesn’t change our position on adopting her but we are curious for financial planning purposes.

–If the baby’s maternal great-grandmother prevails in adopting her does she receive social security benefits…also, the great-grandmother is disabled.

1 Answers
Devin Carroll answered 3 weeks ago

DS,

The short answer is "yes" you would be eligible for an additional benefit if you adopt the grandchild, but not until you file for benefits. The earliest age is you may file for benefits is:

60-For Survivor Benefits

62-For Retirement Benefits

Any Age-For Disablity Benefits

A child who is your biological child, adopted child, or dependent stepchild is eligible for children’s benefits if:

you become disabled

you retire

you die

AND the child is:

unmarried, and

under age 18, or

18-19 and a full-time student in secondary school through grade 12, or

18 or older and disabled with a disability that started before age 22.

If you become disabled or retire, your qualified child is eligible for up to 50% of your full retirement age benefit. If you die, your qualified child is eligible for up to 75% of your full retirement age benefit. This amount is subject to the family maximum.

I’ve written about both of this topic in my articles:

Social Security Benefits for Children: The 4 Most Important Things You Should Know

and

Social Security Benefits for Grandchildren

Thanks for the question and best of luck in your adoption proceedings.