Can Grandmother Get Social Security Benefits for Caring for Disabled Grandson?

 In Social Security, Special Needs Planning


I have received caregiver payments from Social Security for my 23-year-old since 2013, when his father retired. Now, I’m seeking custody of my disabled grandson, who is 14 years old. Am I able to collect separate benefits as a caregiver for him?


Photo by Anton Darius | @theSollers on Unsplash


I am not clear from your question who is who and how you are all related, but I am afraid that from the information you did provide, it is unlikely that should your grandson come to live with you, that either your he or you would be entitled to receiving a Social Security benefit from your husband’s earnings record.

The requirements to be eligible for a minor grandchild (or step-grandchild for that matter) to collect as a dependent of a Social Security retirement beneficiary, or for the retiree or their spouse to collect grandparent’s benefits as the child’s caretaker, are set out in the POMS at DI 23505.005:

In order to qualify, at the time the grandparent began collecting retirement benefitsthe grandchild must be dependent on the grandparent and the child’s parents must be deceased or disabled.

Since you say in your question that your grandchild has not yet come to live with you, I do not see how you or your grandson could meet this requirement. Also, keep in mind that even if you both could meet the dependency requirement, you would have to establish that both his parents are deceased or disabled.

I should also point out that even if all the requirements for benefits were met, the benefits due would be subject to the same family maximum as the benefits your husband, your son, and you are already receiving. Since it is likely that the total benefits being received by the three of you have already hit the family maximum, any additional benefit to your grandson’s moving in with you would not increase the total amount being received by the household.


Mark Bronstein


This response is provided by Mark Bronstein, Esq., who has been representing individuals in disability related matters since 1980. In addition to Social Security disability and retirement claims, he handles claims under private and group disability insurance plans, and also consults with individuals who have chronic or progressive illnesses and are “still working but worried.” In addition to representing individuals, he regularly consults with other attorneys on complex cases, and provides training and support to legal, chronic illness and provider organizations. He is based in Newton, Massachusetts and can be reached at or 617-244-5551.

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