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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

Amount of Child's Insurance Benefit

338. Amount of Child's Insurance Benefit

338.1 How is the child's monthly benefit amount determined?

A child's monthly benefit rate is:

  1. One-half the insured parent's primary insurance amount if the parent is entitled to disability or retirement insurance benefits (see §302); or

  2. Three-fourths of the parent's primary insurance amount if the parent is dead.

338.2 When is the child's benefit amount less?

The benefit paid to a child may be less if:

  1. The "family maximum" applies and the benefit rate must be reduced (see §§731-732); or

  2. A disabled "child" is entitled to disability or retirement insurance benefits on his or her own Social Security record. In this case, only the amount by which the child's monthly benefit rate exceeds the retirement or disability insurance benefit is paid as the child's insurance benefit.

(See §§733-737 for the effect of simultaneous entitlement to other Social Security benefits on the child's insurance benefit.)

Last Revised: Jun. 30, 2004

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Survivors Social Security -help applying -18 fulltime student

September 7, 2010 by Guest

Help me please ... any law or advice or something to help me get the money from SOcail Security I just found out about....survivor's from ssi.I did not know it was even there for me I am now a student at uci and I applied for fin. aid and grants loans anything to help financially and the councler told me to try to get survivors from ssi though I am 18 he said parents are fin. resp. for us till 24 in US if fulltime student and he said I can get back pay if nothing else. But I called the ssi office she said she doesn't believe they do back pay that I can come in my mom passed when I was 15 I was to young to know to apply and now that I need fin. assistance I can't get it help any information would help. after 3 years can I still get money for now or what they owed me for last 3 years I have an apt tomorrow with the soc. sec. office please help .....

Retroactive survivor benefits

September 7, 2010 by David Luhman

Please contact Social Security directly for this, but there may be a chance to obtain some survivor benefits retroactively ("back pay"). For example, full retirement age claims and survivor claims may be paid for up to six months retroactively.

Split child benefits between children and adult disabled child

December 18, 2012 by Guest

My husband will start collecting SS. Our 2 undage children are entitled to benfits. The amount they could receive will be reduced because SS will also pay benefits to my husband's adult disabled child. This makes a tremendous difference to the amount the two children will receive (family cap) but does not benefit the adult child in any way. My husband has not had a financial obligation to the adult child for all his working life. He does not live with us, oes not live independantly and receives his own benefits. Do we have any recourse?

Effect of disabled adult child on family maximum

December 30, 2012 by David Luhman

Sorry, I couldn't find much on this rather exceptional situation.

In general, if you're subject to the family maximum on benefits, the benefit per child will increase as a child becomes an adult. However, I couldn't find an exemption whereby disabled adult children would be taken out of the family maximum calculation.

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