Collecting Child Support Owed by a Deceased Parent?

September 6, 2016

My ex just passed away this week. He was disabled and was paying child support thru his Social Security payments for my 11 year old son. I am disabled as well, so my son gets a Social Security check based on my work record. Can someone explain the process now that the other parent is deceased? Will my son be able to get a check from his dad's Social Security now that he's deceased? Or will his support check from his dad's disability just stop. I am so confused right now. I plan to go to Social Security as soon as possible. I just wondered if anyone had similar experiences.



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September 7, 20160 found this helpful

Only the SSA can correctly answer your question. You can contact the office by phone and also schedule an appointment in an office near you.

September 7, 20160 found this helpful

Thanks for your reply. As stated before I was just wondering if someone else had similar experience

September 7, 20160 found this helpful

Thanks for your reply. As stated before I was just wondering if someone else had similar experience

September 7, 20161 found this helpful

My dad was killed when I was 11, and SS paid benefits until I was 25..I was in college and they paid until my 25th birthday.. hope this helps..


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September 8, 20161 found this helpful

DCA is correct that only the SSA can give you correct answers as it would be rare that any 2 cases would have the same results.

I do not believe that your child can receive two checks so they will probably give you whichever SS account will give you the highest benefit.


Be sure to take all legal papers with you and go as soon as possible as all of these changes take time to process.

November 28, 20160 found this helpful

Did u have to move out? Or just remain in school?

December 6, 20161 found this helpful

My son was only 10 when his father passed away 4 years ago. I had just been declared disabled 6 months prior to that and at that time my son was receiving a check off of my disability benefits. After his father passed I had to make an appointment at my local Social Security Office. At that appointment they required a ton of paperwork and legal documentation. Once they determined that he was eligible they looked up how much my son would receive in survivors benefits from his father's social security. They then compared that with how much he was receiving from my disability benefits and whichever amount was the highest is the one he got. Your child can only receive benefits from one parent at a time regardless of the situation. Also, there are several "qualifications" that have to be met in order for a child to receive survivors benefits from a deceased parent.


Two of the main ones are that there has to be legal documentation showing that the deceased parent was in fact the child's parent (fathers name on child's birth certificate, if the fathers name is not on the birth certificate then they require proof of paternity, etc)...The 2nd is that the deceased parent has to have a certain number of "work credits" throughout a certain number of years. If they don't have enough of both then the child would not be eligible for survivors benefits. To be honest it's a real pain to have to deal with and go through it all but to get the survivor benefits for your child is worth it. Losing a parent is hard enough without having to raise a child on you own financially. I hope I've been of some help.

December 6, 20160 found this helpful

Unfortunately, now that his father is deceased they will no longer pay child support payments from his disability benefits. They will determine if and how much your son would be eligible for under survivors benefits.


They will then compare that to the amount he's receiving from your disability benefits. Whichever amount is the highest is the one he will get. He can only receive benefits from one parent at a time.

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5 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

January 23, 2014

Is it possible to receive anything for a child support case left running over a child's lifetime after the obligated parent has passed away? Father was deceased at (child's) age 20, now 25. I was told in a child development course discussion, that it is possible to receive the past due funds from the deceased parent's SS.

Especially since I am still considered dependent wise in the government's eyes and the case was definitely kept open. The only reason it wasn't "pushed" is because someone who is just not going to pay, isn't doing us any more good in jail... still, it stayed open.


By K Johnson


January 24, 20141 found this helpful
Best Answer

You are going to have to talk to your local Social Security Office and Child Support Enforcement office. Most of the time if a deadbeat parent has to spend a little time in jail that will shape them up. Their driver's license can also be taken away and their income tax could have been garnished, providing you had been working with the Child Support Enforcement office. Also their wages can be garnished. There isn't any reason for the parent to be very far behind on child support.

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November 19, 2012

My child's father has passed and I don't know anything, but his first name. Child support sent me a letter to file for support. What can I do?

By Kim


November 20, 20120 found this helpful

If your child's father has passed away, you are entitled to a check every month for the child's support until the child is 18, or 19 1/2 if still in school. Call your Social Security Office immediately. You can apply for it by phone. Do not even need to go into their office. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!



November 21, 20121 found this helpful

I used to do child support enforcement for a living. How do you know the man is dead if all you know is his first name? Go to the child support office and give them as much information as you can provide. If the child is illegitimate, which I am guessing is the case, they will have to establish paternity before proceeding with any other action to gain monetary support for your child. This can be done by testing relatives of the man who is the father. If paternity is established, the child might be eligible for part of the man's estate, depending on what state you live in, and of course, entitled to receive social security death benefits until age 18 or otherwise emancipated. Be sure to keep your appointment at the child support office as they can answer all your questions and tell you what they can do. This is also important for your child as someday he/she will want to know about their father. It will be good for everyone concerned if you can answer the questions with good information. Good luck to you. PS--do not be ashamed about anything in this matter. Your first concern is seeing that your child is provided for.


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November 21, 20121 found this helpful

Social security does pay a check every month, BUT paternity would have needed to be established BEFORE the father died. Social Security won't help you, I'm afraid. They aren't going to locate his relatives for you. They aren't going to do $500 DNA testing for you. The burden falls on you to raise this child by yourself.


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November 21, 20121 found this helpful

And how do you not know his last name, but know that he's deceased?

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June 19, 2019

How do you collect child support from a parent who has passed away without signing the child's birth certificate?


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June 19, 20191 found this helpful

You will need a lawyer for this one. Hopefully they can find something with his DNA.


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June 19, 20190 found this helpful

Legal Zoom has some generalized information on their website about this topic:

It is best to have your own lawyer work with the estate lawyer/executor who is handling the will and estate of the person who is deceased.

If you can't afford a lawyer, talk to you state senator's office and have him/her give you a list of legitimate legal aide services who can help you navigate this process.

Post back with an update. Condolences to your child on the loss of his/her parent. So sad.


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June 20, 20190 found this helpful

Several questions:
First: Who do you expect to receive child support from?
Does he have an estate? Will? Assets?
Did he work long enough to acquire Social Security benefits so the child could apply for surviving child benefits?

How old is the child?
Why did he not sign the birth certificate?
Did you live together - if so - how long?
Were you living together when the child was born?
Were you living together at the time of his death?
Did he ever pay child support or take care of the child while he was living?
Did he proclaim to anyone that this was his child or did he question it?

Do his parents recognize the child as their grandchild?

No matter where you are seeking child support, these are the type of questions you will most likely have to answer and probably have to have proof for some of the answers.

If you can provide legal DNA that proves the child is his you may not have to go through so many hoops.

If you are on any type of government assistance programs (hopefully you named him as the father) (foodstamps, Medicaid) you can seek free help through your local family services as they have attorneys who do pro-bono work in cases like this.

This will probably be a slow process but the first thing to do is to make your case with Social Security so you will have an official starting point.
Then, if your child is approved for benefits, you will receive money from that first date when you applied.
You will have to go in person and have SS numbers for yourself, child and the deceased father. Also - you will need a copy of his death certificate (if possible).
Be sure the SS person starts a case so you will receive something in writing stating whether your child qualifies for benefits. Be sure to keep any correspondence you receive from the SSA office.

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October 30, 2018

The father of my twin daughters is deceased, because of his large insurance payout isn't he still obliged to pay the child support till they're 18?


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October 30, 20180 found this helpful

This is a question for Social Security. Make an appointment with them with documentation that he was the girls' father and that he is deceased. You may also need a lawyer for the insurance payout. If you can't afford a lawyer, contact the Legal Aid Society.


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October 30, 20181 found this helpful

I am not clear what you are asking.

If it is can his insurance payouts be sent to your daughters? That would need to be taken up with whomever he designated as beneficiary. This would probably necessitate a lawyer if the children are not the beneficiaries. People do have a right to designate anyone the choose, so unless you had papers saying otherwise, that may be a losing battle.

If you are asking about social security survivors benefits, that needs to be addressed by the social security administration. Their contact info is:

If he was a veteran, there may be benefits through the VA. Their contact info is

Prayers and condolences to all.

October 31, 20181 found this helpful

Oh my goodness honey. Let me see if I can help you. I have identical twin girls myself whom are now 28. I'm afraid you probably do not have access to any of the insurance policy payout. The payout would go only to the beneficiary. But on the other hand. You're twins do have the lawful right to receive their fathers social security. Just contact the social security administration where you live and explain your situation and they should be able to help you. Good Luck

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September 16, 2013

My children's dad died, he owed $18,000 in back support. What do I do next? It would have been our 20 yr. anniversary. Our son is 22 and out of school and our daughter is 18 and just started college.

By Krissi


September 19, 20130 found this helpful

Check with your state or local child support agency. If he left any sort of estate, you may be able to get some of what is owed. Good luck!

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