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Children can get Social Security benefits after age 18, if they are full-time students

Q: My son receives Social Security survivor benefits and I get the funds on his behalf. He will be 18 soon. Will his SSA continue?

A: Perhaps. About a month before his birthday he, not you, will receive a letter asking if he will be a full time student in high school past age 18. If yes, for benefits to continue he must submit the necessary form to school officials. The school uses this to certify that he is still enrolled. If this is not done, Social Security benefits automatically stop when a student turns 18.

With certification from the school, benefits generally can continue until the month before the month the student turns 19, or the first month in which he or she is not a full-time student, whichever is earlier. Once age 18, benefits are usually paid directly to the child, if eligible as a student, and that person becomes responsible for notifying SSA of any reportable changes.

More about what student and school officials must do to ensure benefits continue is online at Some children get Social Security survivors benefits because a parent is deceased; others because a parent receives SSA retirement or disability benefits.

Including students, as of December 2008, about 7,449 children in North Dakota received monthly SSA benefits. About 55,563 children received SSA benefits in Minnesota.

Employer reminder: Simplify your upcoming W-2 paperwork. Be sure you have the correct social security number (SSN) for all employees and that the name on your records matches the name on the person's social security card. Register at SSA Business Services Online (BSO) and use the free, online, SSN Verification Service (SSNVS). Once registered, individual employers, and firms that prepare W-2's for others, can also electronically transmit W-2 wage data to Social Security.

To register and learn more, visit or

Q: How can I get a verification of my Social Security benefit amount?

A: It's easy, but first be sure you really need one. You might be able to use a bank statement showing your net direct deposited benefit amount or a previously received letter showing the amount. You can request both SSA and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) written verifications online at Look in the left column under "What you can do online," go to "If you get benefits" section, and select "Request a Proof of Income letter". A letter will be mailed to your address of record in about 10 days.

If you recently moved or if just your preference, telephone the SSA national number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., during business days.

Q: When do I receive Medicare for disability?

A: Coverage is the same whether you receive Medicare at age 65 or because of disability. For people receiving SSA disability, Medicare coverage generally begins 24 months, two years, after you begin receiving Social Security disability benefits. It is important to note that Social Security starts counting the 24 months from the month you were entitled to receive disability benefits, not the month when you received your first check. Some exceptions exist to this.

People with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) can get Medicare beginning the month they become entitled to disability benefits. People with permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant might have Medicare without receiving monthly benefits.

Did You Know? An unfortunate reality is that the chances you will become disabled are probably far greater than you realize. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a three in 10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age. Learn about SSA disability benefits at