Losing a parent can be one of the most difficult things you have to go through, particularly if you are a child. When a parent passes away, the child not only loses emotional support, but also financial support. Fortunately, Social Security disability benefits may be available to children in Georgia who lose an income-earning parent.

In order to determine whether a child can receive SSD benefits after losing a parent, Social Security will look at both the child and deceased parent. An unmarried child under the age of 18 (ages 18-19, if a full-time student at the high-school level or lower), or over the age of 18 if they have a disability that began before they turned 22, may be eligible for SSD benefits. The child must also have a parent who is disabled or retired and entitled to benefits, or their deceased parent must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for the minimum number of years required.

If a child is awarded benefits, they could receive up to 50 percent of the disability or retirement benefits received by their parent, or up to 75 percent of the deceased parent’s benefits if the child gets survivor benefits. The child’s benefits will generally get cut off when he or she reaches the age of 18, unless they are a student (12th grade or below) or disabled themselves. Also, keep in mind that there is a maximum amount of money that can be paid to each family, and the amount a child receives will be adjusted based on the amount received by other family members.

If you want to apply for SSD benefits on behalf of a child, the first step is to make sure that Social Security is made aware of the decedent’s death as soon as possible. Next, a disability lawyer can assist with the application process, as well as the appeals process if your claim gets rejected.