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Yolanda York, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in San Diego, CA

Do you have a son or daughter who is turning 18 soon, collecting monthly Social Security benefits, and returning to high school this fall? If so, then we have a bit of homework for you.

To make sure Social Security benefits continue beyond age 18, eligible students must submit the necessary form to school officials. The school will use these documents to certify your child is still enrolled in school. Otherwise, monthly Social Security payments automatically stop when a student turns 18.

This is the case regardless of the type of Social Security benefit received. Some students get Social Security survivors benefits because a parent is deceased. Others may receive dependent benefits because their parent receives Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Benefits for minor children generally continue until age 18 (or 19 if they’re still in high school) unless they are disabled and eligible for childhood disability benefits. In that case, a separate application for benefits is required.

For more information about Social Security student benefits, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/schoolofficials. The website outlines how the process works and explains what the student and school official must do to ensure benefits continue past the student’s 18th birthday. With the appropriate certification from the school, Social Security generally does not stop benefits 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.

The website also includes:

  • a downloadable version of the required SSA-1372 form — Students’ Statement Regarding School Attendance — that must be completed by the student, certified by the school and returned to Social Security;
  • answers to Frequently Asked Questions for school officials and students; and
  • a field office locator to find the address of a local Social Security office

If you do not have access to the Internet, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Otherwise, visit www.socialsecurity.gov to learn more about Social Security.

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