Does adoption cut off survivor’s benefits for children?

I previously wrote about when a child qualifies for survivor’s benefits. I was recently asked if adoption stops Social Security survivor’s benefits for a child.

If a child receives benefits from a deceased parent and is adopted by a step parent, can he still receive benefits from the deceased parent?

I had to confer with colleagues familiar with this topic.

Adoption after entitlement to benefits is not a terminating event.

However, adoption prior to entitlement to benefits might prevent entitlement. There are cases which have gone either way. It depends on the laws in the State where the worker died and other circumstances.

It is always a good idea to check with your local Social Security office to address the specific circumstances of your case. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Social Security Advice Online for their assistance in providing this answer.

Photo by LordFerguson

  • Krystal

    I have one of those cases where my daughters father passed away only couple weeks after the adoption was finalized. He still wanted to be part of her life and had to meet my husband before signing away his rights. I feel that she should stil be entitled to survivor benefits to give her the things he might have if he were still here. We fought in court but they said no unless we could find similar case where an exception was made. Can you help??

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  • ER

    I have fibromyaglia and several other health issues which prevent me from working. I was thinking about applyiing for ssdi but am affraid because my son who has autism is receiving ssi. If I apply for ssdi and get approved, will it affect my son’s benefits?

    • ER

      Opps put this is the wrong tab.

    • http://stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      Possibly. Children under 18 typically receive Children’s SSI benefits which are affected by household income and other income coming in — including other Social Security benefits. 

      For specific information about how your disability benefits (if approved) would affect your son, I encourage you to contact Social Security

  • Brandi B

    Hi, I am a remarried widow. My husband would like to adopt my three-year-old-son and I am trying to get a clear answer to see if my son’s survivor benefits will be terminated. I’m reading many conflicting views and can’t even get a straight answer when I call SSA. We are paying his school tuition with these benefits but would love to all have the same name. What should I do?

    • http://stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      Hi Brandy. I don’t make predictions of what SSA is going to do in specific situations on the blog. However, Social Security Advice Online (http://socialsecurityadviceonline.com/) may be able to answer your question. I would contact them. Good luck, Brandy!

    • Jenny B

      He will continue to get SS benefits because he was entitled to them before the adoption. I had the same circumstances. My daughter was 3 years old when my new husband adopted her after her biological father died. She is now 10 and still continues to get SS survivors benefits with no interruption. You will just need to notify them once the adoption is finalized. You would also request the name change on his SS card and request the changes in name and father on his birth certificate. I live in Louisiana, in Livingston Parish. The step-parent adoption only cost us $23.50 in filing fees and I was able to prepare the petition and everything myself without ever hiring an attorney. I too received conflicting information from the SS admin. They may need to apply more training to the employees.

  • Mrs. D

    My husband would like to adopt my son, who is 16. My son receives survivors benefits from his deceased father. Would the adoption stop the social security benefits
    ? We live in Missouri and I’m having a hard time getting the answers to any questions pertaining to this.

  • guest

    I currently receive disability benefits. All my children are grown and I am divorced. my youngest daughter has 3 children at the age of 21. She is not married and all 3 children have different fathers. I want to adopt the oldest child, she is 5 and will be starting school in the fall. Would I be able to receive benefits for her as if she were my own child? PLEASE HELP !!!