Could My Grandson In College Qualify For Benefits On His Deceased Father's Record?

Category: 
May 2 2019 - 10:18pm

My 19-year-old grandson is a full-time college student in another state. He will turn 20 in June. His father, my former son-in-law, sadly died last month at age 48. He was a full-time federal employee under the FERS system, so did pay into the Social Security system for the last 9 years on this current job as well as on other non-governmental jobs he held before this job. Someone told me they thought because my grandson was a full-time student that he would be eligible for Social Security child survivor benefits. I found the following statement on the SS Survivors web page "If you are the unmarried child under 18 (up to age 19 if attending elementary or secondary school full time) of a worker who dies, you can be eligible to receive Social Security survivors benefits. And you can get benefits at any age if you were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled." https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou.html#h4 I interpret that to mean his eligibility ended the day he turned . Or is he still eligible for the few more months that he is 19 before he turns 20 in June? While he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome as a toddler and is still socially awkward, he has never filed for SS disability. Neither my former son-in-law nor daughter have remarried since their divorce last year after a 20-year marriage, so I believe she would qualify for divorced widow's benefits once she hits eligibility age if she doesn't remarry before 60.

Hi,

Your grandson would have to either be a full time student in high school or become disabled prior to age 22 in order to qualify for Social Security child's benefits after reaching age 18. Colleges aren't classified as either elementary or secondary schooling. But yes, it sounds like your daughter could potentially qualify for surviving divorced spousal benefits when and if she meets all of the requirements (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home%2Fhandbook/handbook.04/handbook-0403.html).

Best, Jerry