Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

Social Security Benefits for Adopted Grandchildren

At Held Law Firm, many of the adoption clients we see are grandparents seeking to adopt their grandchildren. However, many people in this group are unable to work. They rely on Social Security Retirement or Disability benefits for their income. Adopting and raising children is always a challenge, but it can be especially difficult for people living on a fixed income. Many people don’t realize that they can bridge that financial gap by applying for additional Social Security benefits on behalf of their adopted grandchildren.


Children of people who receive Social Security Retirement or Disability benefits may be eligible to receive benefits on their parent’s record. To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits on a parent’s record, a child must either: (i) be unmarried and under age 18; (ii) be 18-19 years old and a full time student no higher than grade 12; or (iii) be 18 or older and disabled from a disability that started before age 22. An eligible child can be the primary beneficiary’s biological child, adopted child, or dependent stepchild.

Each eligible child can receive up to half of the parent’s full retirement or disability benefit. However, there is a limit to the total amount the Social Security Administration will pay per family per month. This is somewhere between 150-180% of the parent’s full benefit amount. If the total amount payable to all family members exceeds the 150-180% limit, the Social Security Administration will reduce each person’s benefit proportionately (except the primary’s beneficiary’s) until the total equals the maximum allowable amount.


For struggling adoptive families, a little extra money from Social Security can make all the difference. If you need help with or have any questions about benefits for adopted grandchildren, give us a call at (865) 685-4780. We’re happy to help.

Chelsea Price is an attorney at Held Law Firm