Ask Larry

How Far Back Can My Son Be Paid Benefits From His Father's Account?

Hi, my son was eligible for auxiliary benefits (his whole life) from his father. His father and I are not on speaking terms, and I could not provide the information to get an appointment to get it set up. I finally got the information 6 years later, and have an appointment next month. I am being told by ssa that benefits would be retroactive for 12 months, whereas, others are telling me that it would be retroactive to when his father became disabled. I just want to know what to expect, and what information is correct.

Hi. My answer assumes that your son's father became eligible for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits after your son was born. In that case, the very earliest that your son could qualify for auxiliary child benefits on his father's account is the first month that his father was due benefits. But, you are required to file an application for child's benefits, and the retroactivity limit on disability applications is 12 months. So, your son couldn't be paid retroactively for more than 12 months from the date of his application, unless there is an earlier protective filing date.

When your son's father applied for SSDI benefits, that application would serve as a protective filing date for your son assuming that your son was listed on his father's application. But, even if your son was listed on his father's application, if Social Security closed out the protective filing by sending out a 6-month closeout notice then the protective filing date may no longer be valid. Therefore, whether or not your son could be paid for more than 12 months prior to his filing date depends on whether or not there's an open protective filing date involved.

I would suggest that you ask Social Security to use your son's fathers application date as his filing date for auxiliary benefits. They should then check to see whether or not your son was in fact listed on his father's application, and if so, whether or not the resulting protective filing date was closed out with a proper notice. If your son wasn't listed on his father's application or if he was listed but the protective filing was properly closed out, then your son may not be eligible for any more than a maximum of 12 months of retroactivity. Remember, though, if you disagree with Social Security's determination, you can file an appeal.

Another thing I should mention is that there is a special family maximum benefit (FMB) limit on SSDI records that, in some cases, can limit the benefit amount payable to eligible for auxiliary beneficiaries to zero. So, regardless of your son's eligibility date, it is possible that he won't be eligible for any actual benefit payments if his father is collecting SSDI benefits.

Best, Jerry

Oct 12 2022 - 12:39pm
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