SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home337. When A Child Must Be Dependent Upon Insured Parent

337.1 When must a child be dependent in order to obtain benefits?

In order to receive benefits, the child must have the status of a “child” (see §324) and must also be dependent or deemed dependent at one of the times set out in (A), (B), (C), or (D) below:

  1. If the worker is entitled to disability insurance benefits the child must be dependent at one of the following points:

    1. The beginning of the worker's period of disability;

    2. The time the worker last became entitled to disability insurance benefits; or

    3. The time the application for child's insurance benefits is filed;

  2. If the worker is entitled to retirement insurance benefits and had a period of disability that did not end before that entitlement, the child must be dependent at one of the following points:

    1. The beginning of the worker's period of disability;

    2. The time the worker became entitled to disability insurance benefits;

    3. The time the worker became entitled to retirement insurance benefits; or

    4. The time the application for child's insurance benefits is filed;

  3. If the worker is entitled to retirement insurance benefits not immediately preceded by a period of disability, the child must be dependent at the time the application for child's insurance benefits is filed; or

  4. If the worker is deceased, the dependency requirement can be met at the time of the worker's death. If the deceased worker had a period of disability continuing until the month of death or until entitlement to retirement insurance benefits, the requirement can also be met:

    1. At the beginning of the worker's period of disability;

    2. At the time the worker became entitled to disability insurance benefits; or

    3. At the time the worker became entitled to retirement insurance benefits. If the parent was alive and entitled to disability or retirement insurance benefits within the retroactive life of the child's application, dependency can be met within the retroactive period.

Note: If the child is a dependent grandchild or step-grandchild, the use of the points in (A) through (D) of this section is subject to the limitations in §336 (B).

337.2 What are the dependency requirements for a child adopted by the worker after the worker's entitlement?

If the worker adopts a child after becoming entitled to either retirement or disability insurance benefits, the dependency requirement is met only if:

  1. The child is the natural child or the stepchild of the worker; or

  2. The child was legally adopted by the worker in an adoption decreed by a U.S. court; and

    1. The child was under age 18 when adoption proceedings began; or

    2. The child was living with or receiving at least one-half support from the worker for the year immediately before the month that the adoption is decreed.

Last Revised: Jun. 30, 2004