If you have paid a sufficient amount into the Social Security program, once you die, your children will be eligible for survivor benefits while they are minors. A common source of confusion with these benefits is exactly when these benefits stop. Specifically, can the benefits be extended based upon a child continuing in school?
The normal rule for Social Security survivors benefits is that they continue until the beneficiary reaches age 18. However, there is a provision that allows for benefits to continue until the child reaches 19 if a child is in school. I often have questions from the families of 18 year-olds in college, whether their child should continue receiving benefits.
The problem in this situation is that the law refers to is high school. For instance, if a child were held back a grade and is 18 years old, but still a senior in high school, he might continue to receive benefits during this time. However, if that same 18 year old is in college, he does not get to continue his benefits. For more see the following link to the SSA's webpage. (http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10085.pdf)