Will my income, as a live-in caregiver, be counted towards my parents' income with regard to SSI?

Timarm60 asked...

my dad is a 74 year-old, fully disabled vet on SSI. My mom is a 74 year-old on SSI. I am their son and am going to be their live-in caregiver. Will my income that's generated from the same government that signs their SSI checks lower their SSI income?

Expert Answer

As a live-in caregiver, your income would not count toward your parents' SSI eligibility except to the extent that you use the money to support them. When deciding on someone's Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) eligibility, SSI looks not just at the individual applicant's income but at "household" income. However, household, in your parents' case, would mean only the two of them, not you, and they have already qualified based on their joint household income.

Your money would only affect their eligibility if you add to their income either directly (such as by paying them rent for living with them) or indirectly (such as by regularly buying their food or medicine or paying their full utility bills). You can pay for your share of food and utilities and other household expenses without SSI considering that as income to your parents. They would only run into trouble if you regularly pay more than your share. One precaution you can take against SSI considering any of your money as counted as income to your parents is to be sure to keep separate bank accounts and to keep good records of exactly what you spend for household expenses and what they spend. That way, you can always show SSI (if necessary) that while you pay for your share of expenses, you are not adding to their income.