Larry, i have been raising my grandchildren ages 20 and 10. My husband died in May at age 60. We had custody of the 10 year old for 8 years of which my husband supported them. I am being told by social security that he would have had to adopt the 10 year old in order for him to get benefits. His parents have never contributed. Is this so because the website is vague. It states that generally the child has to had been adopted by the custodial grandparents to get benefits. I would appreciate a response as he died unexpectedly with no life insurance.
I'm sorry for your loss.
Yes, what you were told is basically correct unless both of your grandchild's natural parents are deceased or disabled. If one or both of a child's parents are living and not disabled, then the child can only qualify for benefits on the Social Security record of a grandparent if the child is adopted by the grandparent.
Assuming that at least one of your grandson's parents are living and not disabled, it sounds like he might still be able to qualify for Social Security child's benefits on your husband's account if you adopt him within 2 years of your husband's date of death. The rules governing that regulation are explained in the following section of Social Security's operations manual: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200306145. If adoption is something that you're considering, you may first want to check with Social Security to determine the benefit amount that your grandson might then qualify for on your husband's record.