Monday, December 29, 2014

What You Should Know about Social Security and Children

Q:       I applied for a Social Security card at the hospital right after my son was born, but when I received his card in the mail, his first name was misspelled. What should I do?
A:        Go to your local Social Security office or card center to ask for a corrected card. The Social Security Administration needs to see at least two original documents—one that would prove your child’s U.S. citizenship and one that would prove his identity. The Social Security office also will ask to see proof of your identity, as your son’s parent.
Q:       What sorts of documents would I need to show the Social Security office in order to get my child’s card corrected?
A:        You will need to provide a birth certificate or U.S. passport to verify your child’s U.S. citizenship. To prove your child’s identity, however, you cannot use a birth certificate, since the Social Security Administration needs evidence of the child’s existence after birth. An acceptable document for showing proof of identity must show the child’s name, identifying information and, preferably, a recent photograph. The child must be present unless the picture ID also shows his or her biographical information (such as age, date of birth and parents’ names). Generally, the Social Security office will accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as name and age, date of birth and parents’ names). The office would prefer to see a child’s U.S. passport, but if that document is not available, the office may accept a child’s:
·       adoption decree (if relevant);
·       doctor, clinic, immunization or hospital record;
·       religious record (such as a baptismal record);
·       daycare center or school record; or
·       school identification card.
All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. The Social Security Administration will not accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. To learn more, visit, where you can also find out what documents you need. Through the website, you can also fill out and print an application. Then, you will bring or mail the needed information to the Social Security Administration. You may also want to read the publication, Social Security Numbers for Children, available at

Q:       My six-year-old daughter has a disability. Can she qualify for Social Security disability benefits?
A:        There are two Social Security disability programs that provide benefits for children with disabilities: a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and a Social Security program.
            Under the SSI program, a child from birth to age 18 may receive monthly payments based on disability, including blindness, if:
·       the child has an impairment or combination of impairments that meets the definition of “disability” for children; and
·       the income and resources of the parents and the child are within the allowed limits.

            Under the Social Security program, an adult child who is age 18 or older may receive monthly benefits based on disability, including blindness, if:
·       the adult child has an impairment or combination of impairments that meet the definition of disability for adults;
·       the disability began before age 22; and
·       the adult child’s parent worked long enough to be insured under Social Security and is receiving retirement or disability benefits, or is deceased.

            Under both of these programs, the child or adult child must not be doing any substantial work, and must have a medical condition that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months, or to result in death. Learn more at

The information for this “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Social Security Administration. It was prepared by the Ohio State Bar Association. Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.

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