Benefits For a Child in Foster Care


If you’re fostering a child, you may be wondering if they are eligible for any additional assistance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for both people with disabilities and dependent children living with adults on Social Security, disability, or retirement. If your family meets eligibility criteria, you may receive additional payments to cover medical expenses, childcare, housing costs, and any other daily living needs for your foster child.

Foster Children With Disabilities

If your foster child has a disability like autism, vision loss, cerebral palsy, or many other disabilities, they may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI benefits. SSI benefits are awarded to people of all ages, but there are strict financial limitations that come along with SSI. If you or your spouse earns a decent living, a foster child will not be eligible for SSI benefits even with the most severe disabilities.

The smaller your family, the lower your income limit will be for SSI benefits for a child. A family of five could earn up to $58,000 per year, but a single parent could only make $39,000 before taxes and still qualify. You can view a chart on the SSA’s website to determine if your child will qualify based on your income.

If You’re On Disability or Retirement

If you’re currently receiving benefits from the SSA, you likely already know about auxiliary benefits. Auxiliary benefits are awarded to people who are on Social Security who have dependent family members who could use supplemental income. There is no household income limit for auxiliary benefits, but there are strict criteria that must be met in order for a foster child to qualify.

First off, a foster child must be under age 18 and have been living with you for at least one year to be eligible. Additionally, one of the following criteria must be true for your child to be eligible for benefits under your account:

The child’s parents are deceased
The child’s parents are both disabled
You legally adopt your foster child

This unfortunately means that it can be very challenging for foster children to qualify for auxiliary benefits if the parents are still in the picture, but it is a good option for many families that do meet the eligibility criteria.

Starting An Application

If you’re applying for SSI benefits on behalf of a foster child or if you’re trying to add a foster child to your own beneficiary records, you’ll need to do so in person at your closest Social Security office. To make an appointment to apply in person, call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213. Once you receive your benefits, you can focus on what’s really important: your foster child’s well being.

Helpful Resources



SSI Income For Children:

SSA Offices: