What Is The Correct Information Regarding Benefits For My Children?

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Mar 27 2017 - 6:15am

I just discovered this site and am amazed at all the work you do in helping others -- so I want to thank you.
I also have a question. I married a Mexican citizen who I met in Mexico. We have been married almost two years and lived together before that time. We have 4 dependent children.
I am 69 and have been living on my Social Security check. I was told that I could also receive benefits for the children and went to the Social Security office in San Diego shortly after the marriage ceremony. I was told that all I had to do was wait one year and apply and I would receive benefits. i returned after our first anniversary and met with an official who first told me she could not even meet with me and I would have to go to the consulate in Mexico. Finally, she took pity on me and started the paperwork. Then she said that the children would have to spend at least 30 days in the United States before any benefits can be paid. To accomplish this will be very difficult financially due to the cost of passports, visas and living in the US. My wife has talked to others who claim that they receive benefits for families who have never been in the United States but I have not been able to verify that information. What do I need to do and what is the correct information concerning my kids? Thank you.

Hi,

If your children aren't U.S. citizens and have never lived in the U.S., it's probably true that they wouldn't be able to receive benefits on your record unless and until they establish U.S. residency. These rules vary depending on the country of citizenship, and whether or not Social Security has totalization agreements with that country. For more information on this topic, refer to the following Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10137.pdf.

That said, it would likely still be advisable to apply for benefits on behalf of your children. That way, you'll receive a formal determination of their eligibility with appeal rights. Filing an application will also protect the children from a potential loss of benefits in the event of a change in their status, or in the Social Security regulations.

Best, Jerry