DSCF2297By Kylle’ D. McKinney

Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

With holidays and vacations, December is often considered a time to focus on the children in our lives. Whether we’re taking the kids to visit Santa, buying Hanukkah gifts, or volunteering for a toy drive, children are at the heart of the holiday season. We at Social Security definitely know a thing or two about helping children.

Did you know that we issue Social Security numbers for children, typically during the first weeks or months of their life? You can learn about Social Security numbers for children by reading our publication, Social Security Numbers For Children, available at A child needs a Social Security number if he or she is going to have a bank account, if a relative is buying savings bonds for the child, if the child will have medical coverage, or if the child will receive government services. You’ll also need a Social Security number for a child to claim him or her on your tax returns. Typically, the hospital will ask if you want to apply for a Social Security number for your newborn as part of the birth registration process. This is the easiest and fastest way to apply.

If you wait to apply, you will have to visit a Social Security office and you must:

  • Complete an Application For a Social Security Card (Form SS-5).
  • Show us original documents proving your child’s U.S. citizenship, age, and identity.
  • Show us documents proving your identity

You can imagine the many diverse needs that children around the world have. The children of some countries aren’t as fortunate, and don’t have the strong social safety net that we have in the United States. We work hard at Social Security to protect the needs of children, particularly if one or both of their parents are disabled, retired, or deceased. These benefits for children provide necessities, and help many minors complete high school. You can learn more by reading our publication, Benefits For Children, available at

Children with disabilities are among our most vulnerable citizens. Social Security is dedicated to helping those with qualifying disabilities and their families through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSI:

  • Remember, a child age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for the interview, even though a parent or guardian will sign the application on the child’s behalf.
  • The child must have a physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions, resulting in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must severely limit your child’s activities.
  • The child’s condition(s) must be severe, last for at least 12 months, or be expected to result in death.
  • If your child’s condition(s) does not result in “marked and severe limitations”, or does not result in those limitations for at least 12 months, your child will not qualify for SSI.
  • The child must not be working and earning more than $1,090 a month in 2015. (This amount usually changes every year.) If he or she is working and earning that much money, your child will not be eligible for disability benefits.Visit to learn more about all we do to care for children. Caring for the next generation is a national priority, during the holidays and all year long

Learn the details about benefits for children by reading our publication, Benefits for Children with Disabilities, available at


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