I am a widow who is raising 2 of my grandchildren in Texas. I have filed papers in court to be their guardian, but no adoption will take place. Can I receive payments for them on widows benefits from Social Security? Thanks
No. Your widow's benefits are survivor benefits based on your husband's work record, and auxiliary benefits (e.g. child) aren't paid on survivor benefits. In order to qualify for child benefits on your husband's record your grandchildren would need to have been adopted by him, or have been dependent on your husband at the time of his death and both of their natural parents were either deceased or disabled at that time. A posthumous adoption by the surviving spouse (you in this case) can sometimes qualify a grandchild for benefits on the deceased grandparent's record, but only if the following conditions are met:
1) The surviving spouse legally adopted the child within 2 years after the NH's death; or he/she legally adopted the child more than 2 years after the NH's death but the NH had instituted proceedings to adopt the child before his /her death; and,
2) The child was either living with or receiving one-half support from the NH at the time of the NH's death.
In order for your grandchildren to be eligible for benefits on your record you would have to be drawing Social Security based on your own work record and you would either a) need to adopt the children or b) they would have to be dependent on you and both of their parents would have to have to be deceased or disabled at the time you became entitled to benefits on your own work record.