Frequently Asked Questions - Students

Social Security Answering School Officials Frequently Asked Questions

10. Who can receive student benefits?

In general, the children of retired, deceased, or disabled beneficiaries who remain full-time students at age 18 are entitled to benefits until they reach age 19 or complete their secondary (grade 12 or below) education, whichever occurs first.

9. What must I do to receive student benefits?

You must complete page 2 of form SSA-1372-BK, Student's Statement Regarding School Attendance; have a school official certify on page 3 the information you provide; leave pages 4 and 5, Notice of Cessation of Full-Time School Attendance, with the school official; and return the completed and certified pages 2 and 3 to your local Social Security office by mail or in person.

8. Can I get benefits for taking college courses?

No. At one time, SSA did pay benefits to college students, but the law changed in 1981. We now pay benefits only to students taking courses at grade 12 or below.

7. Can I get benefits if I attend a home school, alternative school,
    or General Education Development (GED) program?

Students in these programs can qualify for benefits if they are in full-time attendance. (See question 6.)

6. What does SSA mean by full-time attendance?

Social Security generally considers a student to be in full-time attendance if he or she:

  • Attends an elementary or secondary level school, as determined by the law of the State or other jurisdiction in which the school is located;
  • Is enrolled in a day or evening non-correspondence course at least 13 weeks in duration;
  • Is scheduled to attend at the rate of at least 20 hours weekly; and
  • Carries a subject load considered full-time for day students under the school's standards and practices.

5. What changes must I report to SSA, and how do I report them?

You must tell SSA if you:

  • Marry;
  • Stop attending school;
  • Reduce your attendance below full-time;
  • Are paid by your employer to attend school;
  • Change schools; or
  • Are convicted of a crime.

You must also let us know if:

  • You move or change your mailing address; and/or
  • Your estimated earnings from work change.

Notify SSA by calling or visiting your local Social Security office; by calling our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778); or by mailing a completed form SSA-1425, SSA-1383, or SSA-453 to your local Social Security office. Your local office may have given you these forms or you may have received them in the mail when you became entitled to student benefits.

4. When will my benefits stop?

In general, we will stop your benefits the month before the month in which you attain age 19 or the first month in which you are not a full-time student, whichever is earlier.

Your benefits may also stop if you marry, you stop attending school, you reduce your attendance below full-time, you change schools, your employer pays you to attend school, or you are convicted of a crime.

3. What must I do if I change schools?

If you change schools, you must complete a new SSA-1372-BK; have a school official certify it; leave pages 4 and 5 of the form with a school official at the new school; and return pages 2 and 3, completed and certified, to your local Social Security office.

2. Can I receive benefits for summer months when I'm not in school?

You can receive benefits during the summer, even though you are not attending school, if the time that you are not in school is not longer than 4 months, you were in full-time attendance immediately before this break, and you intend to return to elementary or secondary school immediately after the break. If you turn age 19, however, during a month when you are not attending school, the last month for which we can pay you is the month before you attain age 19.

1. What if I don't graduate on schedule?

If you don't graduate on schedule, you must complete a new SSA-1372-BK; have a school official certify it; and return pages 2 and 3, completed and certified, to your local Social Security office. You must also leave pages 4 and 5 of the form with a school official if the school no longer has them.