My wife, who is younger than 62, gets child benefits for her daughter, my step-daughter (age 14). I am older than 62, of course. We are getting separated. Social Security said, in response to my phone inquiry, that so long as I am continuing to support my step-daughter the benefits can continue, even though we are separated. The first question is: was the answer I got from Social Security correct? The second question is: what does "continue to support" mean in this circumstance. I am the sole support of my wife (she is unable to work, but is not declared disabled), and we will continue to file jointly until her daughter/my step-daughter graduates from high school in 4 years. Does being the sole support of my wife constitute being the major support for the child? There is minor child support paid by her father, in comparison to what I provide.
Both your stepchild and your wife can continue to be eligible for benefits on your record despite your separation. Once financial dependency is established for purposes of entitlement of a stepchild, entitlement continues even if the financial dependency ends. And, your wife can continue to be entitled as long as your stepchild remains in her care, and is under age 16 or disabled. However, if you divorce, benefits for both your wife and stepchild would terminate, unless your wife could qualify for divorced spousal benefits.