Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

(SSI) pays monthly cash benefits to individuals with limited income and limited resources. The Social Security Administration administers this federal program. If eligible, individuals may receive both SSI and Social Security benefits. And, in most states, a person who is receiving SSI benefits is automatically eligible for health benefits under Medicaid.

Who Qualifies?

To qualify for SSI, individuals or couples must meet certain guidelines. They must be aged 65 or older, or blind, or disabled. They must be U.S. citizens, with certain exceptions for non-citizens. They must not have resources (cash and savings) of more than:

$2,000 ( 1 person)
$3,000 ( 2 person)

Certain resources, like the home, a small burial fund, or one car, usually do not count. To be eligible for SSI benefits, monthly income must not exceed :

$514 ( 1 person)
$761 ( 2 person)

How Much Could Someone Receive?

The amount of the SSI benefit will depend on the income an individual or couple receives. The maximum monthly federal SSI benefit is: $494 ( 1 person) $741 ( 2 person) Many states provide extra income above the federal guidelines.

Social Security Retirement Benefits And Grandchildren

A fairly recent phenomenon in American households is the growing incidence of grandparents taking over as parents for their grandchildren. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 3 million of America’s 70 million children now live with their grandparents. Whatever the reason, more and more grandparents find themselves assuming the role of parents. And when this happens, it’s helpful to know that Social Security may be able to help with the financial burden.

If a parent is deceased or drawing disability or retirement benefits, the children may qualify for benefits on that parent’s earnings record. If that’s not the case, then Social Security may recognize the grandparent as the “parent” for benefit purposes.

When the grandparent retires, becomes disabled, or dies, the grandchild may then be able to qualify for benefits if certain conditions are met. Generally, the biological parents of the child must be deceased or disabled, or the grandchild must be legally adopted by the grandparent.

In addition, the grandchild must have begun living with the grandparent before age 18 and received at least one half of his or her support from the grandparent for the year before the month the grandparent became entitled to retirement or disability insurance benefits or died. Also, the natural parent(s) of the child must not be making regular contributions to his or her support.

If the grandchild was born during the one-year period, the grandparent must have lived with and provided at least one-half of the child’s support for substantially all of the period from the date of birth to the month the grandparent became entitled to benefits.

The grandchild may qualify for benefits under these circumstances, even if her or she is a step-grandchild. However, if the grandparents are already receiving benefits, they would need to adopt the child for it to qualify for benefits.”

Gail R. Mitchell


  • Ms. Mitchell began her full-time caregiving experience in the early eighties when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Later on she became the primary caregiver for her father, along with her mother who had become critically ill from burnout prior to her dad’s passing. In recent years, she cared for several friends with AIDS while continuing to care for her mother and actively providing support, information, referrals and resources for caregivers.

    Gail's leadership on the Internet and her success with Empowering Caregivers led her to found National Organization For Empowering Caregivers (NOFEC) INC in 2001.

    Prior to founding NOFEC, she created the iVillageHealth Chat: Empowering Caregivers, which she hosted for over 5 years. Within a month of hosting she created Empowering Caregivers: in 1999 as a resource for caregivers around the globe. Over three million visitors have frequented the website.

    She has presented at national and international care-related conferences and programs and has been a keynote speaker for many programs as well.

    Ms Mitchell has assisted thousands of caregivers online and offline in ways to empower themselves in their roles in caring for loved ones.

    For a list of clients and/or her resume, please contact

    Gail's articles have been published in many venues nationally and in Canada. Presently, she is a member of American Society on Aging and National Quality Caregivers Coalition.

    Gail has discovered that there is life after caregiving: She has become a successful ceramic artist and installation artist. She created Crystal Illumination Art to bring the transformative quality of illumination, light and color to the human experience and celebrate its ability to inspire, heal and nourish our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.