Social Security Q&A: Parents' income is considered for minors seeking benefits

The Social Security Administration offers information about benefits and services available.
Modified: July 20, 2012 at 11:47 pm •  Published: July 22, 2012
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Q: My 15-year-old sister has been blind since birth. I think she should apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but my parents think because she's a minor, they're responsible for her and she won't qualify. Who is right?

A: To qualify for SSI, an individual must meet certain income and resource limits. Since your sister is a minor, some of your parents' income and resources will determine whether your sister is eligible for SSI. Once your sister turns 18, their income and resources won't be considered when deciding her eligibility and payment amount. Tell your parents they can check at any Social Security office to see if your sister qualifies. To learn more, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us at (800) 772-1213 or TTY (800) 325-0778.

Pay your share for full benefits

Q: I'm on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and live with my two brothers in an apartment. My SSI payment is cut by one-third because the Social Security office says I don't pay enough of the household expenses. How much of the expenses must I pay in order to get the full SSI rate?

A: Under the rules of the program, you must be paying an equal share of the expenses. Because there are three of you in the household, you must pay one-third of the expenses. If you are not paying an equal share of the rent, utilities, groceries, and other household expenses, your SSI payment must be reduced. To learn more, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213.


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