Social Security benefits for children of disabled ex-husband or ex-wife

I was recently asked this question:

My Ex is getting Social Security disability benefits.  I have custody of our kids.  Can my kids get any benefits because of my ex’s disability?

Perhaps, but you have to meet several requirements:

  1. The disabled parent must be receiving Title 2 Social Security Disability benefits. If the parent is receiving Title 16 SSI benefits, there are no auxiliary benefits available.  Auxiliary benefits are benefits paid to a spouse or minor child of a disabled individual.
  2. You have to be able to prove that the child is the child of the disabled parent.  This is usually a non-issue, but there are instances where this is disputed.  For example: the father may be in and out of the picture, his name may not be on the child’s birth certificate.  Later the father becomes disabled.  If the father does not acknowledge the child, it may be difficult to get benefits for the child.
  3. The child has to be under 18 (or 19 if in school).

This great discussion of eligibility for children’s benefits appears on Jonathan Ginsberg’s blog.