Can I invest my kids’ Social Security survivor benefits?


Q. My wife passed in the fall of last year. We have two small children, 8 and 11. Is it allowable for me to establish an UTMA account for each of them and invest all or the majority of their monthly benefit into the account?
— Dad

A. We’re sorry to hear about your wife.

Based on your question, it appears that you are referring to your children’s monthly Social Security benefit that they are entitled to receive until they attain the age of 18, or up to age 19 if a full-time student no higher than grade 12.

You can indeed invest their monthly benefit into a Uniform Transfer to Minors Account (UTMA), said Gerard Papetti, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

But he has another idea for you.

“If your objective to invest in an UTMA account is for education, you should consider funding a 529 plan rather than an UTMA, as all the investment earnings and gains are tax-free if the funds are used for qualified education expenses,” he said.

Email your questions to .

This story was originally published on March 1, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.