Can I Receive Disabled Adult Child Social Security Benefits?

 In Social Security


I am the surviving spouse with two children ages 14 and 24. Husband passed away 7 yrs ago. We are all receiving survivors benefits. My oldest has a serious mental illness that started when he was 17. His benefits would of stopped at 18 but have been changed to a “disabled adult child under 22”. My benefits will stop when my youngest (14 years old) turns 16. I haven’t been able to work to care for my oldest. If I’m caring for my oldest that lives with me, am I entitled to continue my survivors benefits as his caregiver?


The following response is provided by Nora Yousif,  a financial planner with RBC Wealth Management. She is happy to be a financial planning resource for those with follow-up questions. She can be reached at or at 508.230.8960.

In short, possibly yes, but there will be a gap if you’re under age 60 when your younger child reaches age 16. It’s important first to back up and explain the two types of benefits at play here for you. One is the surviving spousal or widow’s benefit that continues until your youngest turns 16. The blackout period would normally kick in on his birthday and then your surviving spousal benefit would pick up as when you reach age 60 at which time your caretaker benefit also could pick up again if you exercise “parental control and responsibility for a mentally disabled child”. I would consult your local Social Security Administration office to review your eligibility. Just be aware your family maximum payment caps out anywhere between 150% to 180% of your husband’s full benefit amount. If you are reaching the max, as it appears you would, family member’s benefits would be proportionately reduced.

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