Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Baby Benefits

Larry from Alabama writes to ask if its true that newborn children can receive a benefit on a retiree's account.  Here's how he puts it: "I recently heard that if you are 65 or older and collecting social security as you only means of income; and you have a new born child; social security can or will provide you with a subsidy for your child. Do you know anything about this new program?"

Well Larry this is not a new program at all.  Since 1940 dependent benefits have been available for young children as well as wives and widows  (husbands were not included until much later).  But you must apply for the benefits asap because the application can be retroactive for only 6 months.  And in a rather quirky provision, no benefits are payable for the month of birth, unless the child was born on the first day of the month!  This is because a beneficiary must meet all the eligibility requirements "throughout the month" and one of the requirements is that the baby must be born to be eligible.  No prenatal benefits allowed!

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