Will I lose my SSI income if I'm a paid caregiver?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 31, 2009
Momsma asked...

My mother, who is on Social Security, lives with me. I am on SSI due to two bouts with breast cancer and secondary ailments. I am responsible for her 24/7. If I were to be paid for her care would I lose any of my income? Much of mine goes for extras for her. We live in New York.

Expert Answers

As you know, you qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits only if you have very low income. So, if your income goes up -- because you're getting paid for taking care of your mother -- that could affect how much you receive in SSI benefits, and it might even disqualify you altogether for SSI if your total income is pushed above SSI limits.

Since part of your income now goes to pay for things for your mother, one way you might get around the problem of SSI limits is having some or all of the new "pay" for caring for your mother go to your mother instead of to you. Whether you can work that out depends on what the source of the new pay would be. If you will be paid to take care of your mother from a state agency like Medicaid, or from a local government program, those programs usually pay the person being cared for directly. If so, your mother could pay for the "extras" you now pay for, and pay you only what's left after that. If you will be paid by other family members, you could make the same arrangement. In this way, the total amount being paid for your mother's caregiving goes onto her income records rather than yours, and your new income will only be the amount that remains after she pays for her expenses.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

That's what I needed to know. 5 brothers and sisters and I'm the only one to help. Phone calls don't help inside the home.