A parent whose spouse is disabled or has died may be eligible for certain benefits, including father’s and mother’s benefits. However, not all parents are eligible for these benefits. For starters, the disabled or deceased spouse must be or have been eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Here are the other requirements for getting mother's and father's benefits, and when a seemingly eligible parent can't get them.
You must have a “child in care” to qualify for parents’ benefits. To have a “child in care,” you must be taking care of a child under 16, or a disabled child of any age. Specifically, you must:
As discussed above, you must have “parental control and responsibility” of a child to be eligible for parents’ benefits. To have “parental control and responsibility” means that you:
You provide personal service for a child when, on a regular basis, you:
You will lose parental benefits if you no longer meet the “in-care” requirements discussed above. This can be a result of the child's age (nless a child is disabled, once a child turns 16 you no longer meet the “in-care” requirements) or because you stop living with your child and the separation between you and the child meets one of the additional criteria discussed below.
If you and the child do not live together, you will not be able to collect parental benefits under any of the following scenarios:
In some situations, you can still meet the “in-care” requirements even though you are temporarily separated from your child. You can meet the in-care requirements as long as:
Employment exception. If your child is under the age of 16, and your job causes you to be separated from the child indefinitely, or the separation is unlikely to end within six months, you can meet the “in-care” requirements if:
School exception. Even if your child attends school away from your home you may still meet the “in-care” requirements so long as:
the child is still under your care and control,and
If you and the child’s other parent are separated, you can still meet the “in-care” requirements if the child usually stays with you during vacations, and you are the school's contact person if there are issues or questions about the child’s wellbeing.