The Question

What happens to my social security benefits if I die and I am not married, but have an adult child?

Hi Heidi,

Unfortunately, Social Security benefits are not inheritable for adult children under most circumstances. Only adult children with disabilities can receive benefits after their parents pass away. Payments will stop immediately after the person receiving benefits passes away, as most funeral homes will notify the Social Security Administration.

Adult children are only eligible to receive benefits if any of the following apply:

1.) They are between the ages of 18 and 19 and a full-time high school student.
2.) They are 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22 and they have never enough to qualify for substantial gainful activity (SGA).
3.) The disabled adult child is unmarried or married to a disabled spouse.

Similar to regular Social Security retirement benefits, the payment amount is tied to their parents’ age, their Social Security tax contributions  and when they took retirement.

Jesse Carlucci, CFP®, Ph.D Answered question April 10, 2023

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