Can My Kids Get Social Security Payments if I'm Retired?

You can retire with partial Social Security benefits at age 62, or with full benefits at your full retirement age. This is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954 and 67 for those born after 1959. The longer you wait, up to age 70, the more you'll receive. Whether you're retired or not, your kids may qualify for benefits if you receive Social Security.

Qualifying Children

When you claim Social Security, your dependent children have to meet age and other requirements to get benefits. In addition to your biological children, your stepchildren, adopted children or dependent grandchildren are also eligible. To qualify, kids normally must be single and under 18 years old. However, they can collect benefits between ages 18 and 19 if they are full-time students in high school or a lower grade. The benefits stop when the student graduates, or two months after the student turns 19 without graduating. College students don't qualify.

Disabled Adult Children

Your disabled adult son or daughter aged 18 or older can qualify to collect Social Security based on your record. The disabled person must meet the government's requirements for disability, and the disability must date before age 22. This benefit is called a child's benefit because it is based on the parent's work.

Multiple Claims

Claiming Social Security benefits for your kids doesn't reduce your benefit. A kid who qualifies can receive up to 50 percent of your payment, similar to the amount your spouse can collect on your record. However Social Security normally limits the family payments based on your record to between 150 and 180 percent of your benefit. If several members of your family collect on your account, individual benefits may be reduced. However, any money your divorced spouse gets on your record doesn't count toward the family limit.

Reductions for Earnings

Kids who work and claim benefits on a parent's record can have their Social Security payments reduced if they earn too much. The maximum a kid can earn without penalty is $14,160 as of publication date. Excess earnings have the same effect on your own benefits until your reach full retirement age. The full retirement age chart on the Social Security website shows when you reach that age, depending on your birth date. The online Earnings Test Calculator shows how excess earnings affect Social Security benefits for you or your child.