I am pregnant and thinking of having my grandmother babysit...

A fellow caregiver asked...

I am pregnant and thinking of having my grandmother babysit when I go back to work. She currently has no job and no income other than social security. She also has Medicare. If I pay her $125 a week like I'm planning, how will this affect her social security and her Medicare? Annually she'd be making $6500 a year watching my baby.

Expert Answer

As for Medicare, there is no affect at all. Medicare is available to everyone age 65 or older regardless of their income or assets, so nothing you pay her would create any problem.

If the $6,500 per year is the only amount she earns, it would not affect her Social Security benefits, either. The only way that earned income would affect her Social Security benefits is if:

• she is less than full retirement age (which is between 65 and 66, the exact age depending on the year of her birth), and
• she earns more than a set yearly limit, which in 2009 is $14,160.

If she is under full retirement age and earns more than $14,160, Social Security would reduce her benefits by $1 for every $2 she earns over that limit. However, this applies only to her total income earned from current work, not from pensions, investments, or her Social Security benefits.

So, all in all, it sounds like what you'll be paying her won't affect any of her benefits.