Ask Rusty: Child Benefits Stopped at 18

Dear Rusty:

I received my Social Security payment for February but not for the month of March. I’ve seen rumors about how they might cut Social Security checks from people in general, and I really hope that’s not why I didn’t get my check. I also turned 18 in mid-February and I’m not sure if that made my checks stop coming even though I am still a full time student in school which should allow me to keep getting benefits until I graduate.

I’ve also seen that they might have changed the dates I get my check. I’ve always gotten my check on the third Wednesday of every month but I don’t know why they would change it now. I’m not sure about all of this and any information you can give before I go to my Social Security office would be very much appreciated. I’m just a bit worried and confused.

Signed: Worried Student

Dear Worried:

First, to dispel the rumors you’ve heard, there are no cuts in Social Security so that is not why you haven’t received your March payment. Also, the dates for receiving Social Security payments have not changed; if you are receiving your check by U.S. Mail, any delay is probably due to the Post Office.

Since you’re 18 and in school, you have been most likely been receiving dependent minor benefits based upon a parent’s Social Security work record. We note that as a minor your dependent benefit payments would usually go to a Representative Payee (usually a parent or guardian). A minor’s dependent benefits stop at age 18 unless they are a full time student at an elementary or secondary school, in which case they stop when you graduate or 2 months after you turn 19, whichever occurs first. However, before you turn 18 you must notify Social Security that you are still in school.

Three months before your 18th birthday, Social Security should have sent you or your Representative Payee a notice that your benefits would end when you turned 18 unless you are still in school, along with a form to complete and return if you are still a student. If you did not complete this form, have it certified by a school official, and submit it to Social Security before your 18th birthday, that is the reason your benefit stopped. If that is the case, you should immediately notify Social Security that you are still a student, get the required form at https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1372.pdf, complete it and have it certified by a school official, and take it immediately to your local Social Security office to have your benefit reinstated. You can find the location and hours of your local Social Security office by going to www.ssa.gov/locator.

The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed in this article are the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory. To submit a request, contact the Foundation at info@amacfoundation.org.

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