Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Adoption and Social Security Benefits USA

"I don't want to lose my Social Security!"

One of the most common scenarios for an adoption is when a parent has died, the surviving parent remarries, and the new step-parent then wants to adopt the spouse's children.

Say that Jane and John are married and have four children.  John dies young, and when he does, Jane begins receiving Social Security death benefits for each of the four children.  That money coming in is important to the family and should be preserved.

Sometime later Jane marries Bill.  Bill is a great guy and becomes a good father to Jane's children.  Jane wants Bill to adopt her children, Bill wants to adopt them and all the children love Bill and want him to be their father.

The problem?  Jane is afraid that if she allows the adoption the children will lose the monthly Social Security income they receive as the children of John, who is deceased.

The answer?  Children that are already entitled to death benefits do not lose them base on a step-parent adoption.  The adoption can take place and the children will still receive their survivor benefits.

This common misconception - that adoption will affect the children's Social Security - is a good example of why it is always important to consult with a knowledeable attorney on all life-changing legal questions.

The children continue to benefit financially from John, their deceased father, and from Bill, their adoptive father.  Sometimes you really can have your cake and eat it too.

Social Security

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