Q. Your recent story on spousal benefits for Social Security said you must be “at least 62 years of age, or any age and caring for a child who is younger than 16 or disabled who is entitled to receive benefits on your spouse’s record.” Does that mean Melania Trump could be collecting Social Security for the care of her son Barron?
A. Children are eligible for Social Security under three circumstances: If the child is under age 18, if the child is 18 or 19 and a full-time high school student, or if the child is 18 or older and disabled.
“So Barron would be eligible for up to half of his dad’s benefit, which I assume is at the maximum levels,” said Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton.
Spouses can also be eligible for benefits, Lynch said.
“For Melania, even if she is below age 62, she can qualify for up to half of `the Don’s’ benefit,” Lynch said. “So yes, she would qualify, but I am not sure if she is currently taking advantage of this.”
Lynch said these benefits do not reduce the retirement benefit.
There are limits, though, according to Social Security:
“If one of your spouse’s children also qualifies for benefits, there is a limit to the amount we can pay family members. The total depends on your spouse’s benefit amount and the number of family members who also qualify on the same record. The total varies, but generally the total amount the worker (your spouse) and their family members can receive is about 150 to 180 percent of the worker’s full retirement benefit.”
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