TN 38 (09-23)

RS 00203.015 Requirements for Re-entitlement to Child’s Benefits


20 CFR § 404.351

A. Definition of re-entitlement

Re-entitlement to child’s benefits is a subsequent award for an auxiliary or surviving child:

  • who was previously entitled on the same Social Security Number (SSN);

  • whose prior benefits were correctly terminated; and

  • whose break in entitlement on that SSN was for at least one month.

The termination and break in entitlement may have been due to an interruption of full-time student attendance, or a break between an age 18 termination and the establishment of a subsequent date of onset for Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB).

If the prior entitlement to child’s benefits terminated because the number holder’s (NH) disability ceased, see RS 00203.015E.2 in this section.


Benefits for minor children, students, and disabled adult children, all fall under the same class of benefits; i.e. child’s benefits.

B. Requirements for re-entitlement to child’s benefits

1. General information on re-entitlement requirements

A child whose entitlement to child's benefits ended with the month preceding the month the child attained age 18, or with a subsequent month, may be re-entitled on the same earnings record upon filing a new application without re-establishing dependency if they:

  • still qualify as the number holder’s (NH) child per GN 00306.000; and

  • have not married since they last became entitled to benefits, unless the marriage was void or annulled. For more information on void marriages and annulment, see GN 00305.125 through GN 00305.135.


    A marriage that ended by death or divorce precludes re-entitlement on the same parent’s earnings record. However, a child whose marriage precludes re-entitlement on the same parent’s earnings record may establish initial entitlement on their other parent’s earnings record provided the child meets the requirements in RS 00203.001A.1, including being unmarried. For information on when a child who has been married may be considered unmarried for initial entitlement, see RS 00203.020A.1.

In addition, the child must meet one of these criteria:

  • be under age 19 and a full-time student in an elementary or secondary level school program. For more information on child’s benefits based on student status, see RS 00205.000. Under certain circumstances, we may deem a student not to have attained age 19, see RS 00205.001A; or

  • be under a disability that began prior to attainment of age 22; or

  • be under a disability that began before the end of the 84th month following the month in which their most recent entitlement to CDB terminated because of medical improvement; or

  • had their entitlement terminated prior to 10/72 due to adoption.

Effective October 1, 2004, re-entitlement to CDB is allowed at any time if the beneficiary's prior entitlement terminated because they ceased to be under a disability due to the performance of substantial gainful activity (SGA) and other re-entitlement requirements are met. For information on SGA, see DI 10500.000. If the previous entitlement to CDB terminated because of medical improvement, the 84-month time limit still applies.

IMPORTANT: For requirements for initial entitlement to child’s benefits, see RS 00203.001.

2. “Throughout the entire month” requirement

The first month that a child can be re-entitled to a monthly benefit is subject to the “throughout the entire month” requirement if:

  • the child is being re-entitled on the earnings record (ER) of a living NH, and

  • the child was not entitled to child's benefits on any ER prior to September 1981.

For policy on the first month of re-entitlement to child’s benefits, see RS 00203.005 for death cases and RS 00203.010 for life cases.

3. Example of applying re-entitlement policy

A child received benefits as a minor child on their deceased parent’s record. Their benefits were correctly terminated at age 18. They married at age 19 and divorced at age 20. After suffering a traumatic brain injury at age 21, they applied for CDB benefits on their deceased parent’s record. We would consider their application for CDB benefits on this parent’s record as an application for re-entitlement to child’s benefits. They would not be eligible for re-entitlement on their deceased parent’s record because they married since they were last entitled to benefits on their record. While the marriage ended in divorce, we cannot disregard this marriage when considering their eligibility for re-entitlement on their deceased parent’s record.

IMPORTANT: While the child in this scenario is not eligible for re-entitlement on their deceased parent’s record, they may be eligible for initial entitlement on their other parent’s record if that parent is receiving benefits on their own earnings record or deceased, as a marriage that ended by divorce does not preclude initial entitlement (see RS 00203.015B.1).

C. Retroactive re-entitlement

If a child no longer meets all the requirements for re-entitlement in RS 00203.015B at the time they apply for child’s benefits, we may be able to find the applicant entitled to child’s benefits by:

  • establishing re-entitlement for months in the retroactive period during which the child met all requirements in RS 00203.015B; and

  • terminating the child’s re-entitlement with the month before the month in which any of the terminating events in RS 00203.035 occurred.

For example, a child who is married at the time they file their application for benefits, may be re-entitled to benefits for months prior to the month of their marriage. If benefits are payable for a retroactive period, the marriage is a terminating event.

IMPORTANT: Consider protective filing (see GN 00204.010) and retroactivity for Title II benefits (see GN 00204.030) when determining a child’s eligibility for a retroactive period.

D. Requirements for re-entitlement to Medicare

A child who is re-entitled to CDB may also be re-entitled to Hospital Insurance (HI) or Part A benefits and eligible for Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) or Part B. For information on HI and SMI based on CDB entitlement, see HI 00801.146, HI 00801.152, and HI 00805.005.

E. When re-entitlement provisions do not apply

1. Benefit continuation at age 18 based on school attendance or disability

The re-entitlement provisions do not apply when a child is entitled to child’s insurance benefits for the month before attainment of age 18 and the child is eligible for conversion to student benefits, or benefit continuation as a CDB, in the month they attain age 18. Such benefit continuation does not require an application. For information on benefit continuation at age 18 as a student or CDB, see RS 00205.400 and RS 00203.085 respectively.

2. Prior entitlement to child’s benefits terminated because NH’s disability ceased

Initial entitlement provisions apply, instead of the re-entitlement provisions, when:

  • the child’s prior entitlement was based on the NH’s entitlement to a Disability Insurance Benefit (DIB);

  • the NH’s entitlement to DIB terminated because the NH's disability ceased;

  • the child’s entitlement was terminated because the NH’s entitlement was terminated;

  • the NH, after their termination because the disability ceased, has died, has become entitled to Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB), or has again become entitled to DIB; and

  • the child is filing a new application for benefits.

For information on expedited reinstatement, see DI 13050.060A.2.


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RS 00203.015 - Requirements for Re-entitlement to Child’s Benefits - 09/07/2023
Batch run: 09/07/2023