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Can a child get social security benefits if father is not listed on birth certificate?

Orlando, FL |

If a man holds out a child as his own, has visitation, pays child support (when he feels like it), when he passes away, can that child get the social security benefits if the father was never listed on the birth certificate?

Attorney Answers 3


I honestly don't know what the law is, but, as a practical matter, the Social Security Department doesn't ask for the birth certificate as part of the application process.

The contents of this answer should be considered friendly advice, not legal advice (I'm a pretty friendly guy), and the answer should not be construed to constitute an attorney-client relationship. If you'd like actual legal advice, call me for a free consultation at 813-635-0222. Also, if you liked this answer as much as my big ego thinks you did, be sure to click the thumbs-up button!

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As a general rule unmarried children under age 18 (or up to age 19 if still in school full time, high school for example), can receive Social Security benefits when a parent dies. Stepchildren, grandchildren or stepgrandchildren, as well as adopted cjildren may be able to receive benefits in some cases. Social Security may ask for birth certificates or other proof of birth to show eligibility.

Please go to the next link to see additional requirements:

All the best to you!

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The decision of who is a child for Social Security purposes is many times dependent on State Law. I assume by your post that the father is deceased. If you have things that prove his acknowledgement of paternity - birthday cards, Christmas cards, tax returns that claim a deduction for the child, school documents that show he was listed as father, and if you have proof of support - child support orders, child support payments/checks, then submit all of that documentation to Social Security.

If you provide that documentation to SSA and they still deny the claim, you will want to talk to an attorney. This can be a very complicated part of Social Security, and before you ever get to having a hearing, everything needs done to support your claim.

You may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.

The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is

In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.

Their link is:

I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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