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Howard Kossover: Adoption does not end Social Security survivor benefits for children

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Q: My young children receive Social Security survivors benefits because their father died several years ago. I will remarry in a few months. Will the children lose their survivors benefits if my new husband adopts them?

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A: Adoption of a child already entitled to Social Security survivors benefits does not end his or her benefits.

Do you also receive Social Security survivors benefits? If you are younger than age 60, remarriage normally will end your survivors benefits even though benefits to the children continue.

Ask about your specific situation.

More about SSA survivors benefits is available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/survivors.htm.

Are you changing your name? Will the children’s name change? If so, update the family Social Security number (SSN) records as needed at no charge. Proof of the new names, which can include documents such as a marriage certificate or adoption papers, will be required. Full instructions are available at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Assuming you receive the Social Security benefits on behalf of the children, if you change your name, you will also have to update your name on those benefits. This can be completed when you update your SSN card. This also applies if the children’s names eventually change. If moving, remember to update your address too.

Read the Social Security booklet, “What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits” (publication 05-10077), online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10077.pdf, by calling the SSA national toll-free phone number, 1-800-772-1213, TTY 1-800-325-0778, or by contacting any SSA office.

Did you know? In May, the Denver Region of the Social Security Administration created the short webinar “How to Replace Your Medicare Card Online.” 

In under six minutes, it has a brief Medicare introduction, shows how to replace your Medicare card online, and highlights My Social Security.

Watch it at www.socialsecurity.gov/denver.

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Send general interest questions to him at howard.kossover@ssa.gov. Read his online articles at socialsecurityinfo.areavoices.com.

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