Grandmother Probably Cannot Get Benefits for Caring for Disabled Grandson
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 caregiver for him?
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 either your grandson or you would be entitled a Social Security benefit on your husband’s earnings record if he were to come live with you.
The requirements 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 23405.005:
In order to qualify, at the time the grandparent began collecting retirement benefits, the grandchild must be dependent on the grandparent, and the child’s parents must be deceased or disabled.
Since you say in your question that the child has not yet come to live with you, it will be impossible for you to meet the requirements for entitlement. To qualify after he does move in, you’ll have to establish that both his parents are deceased or disabled.
I should also point out that even if grandchild and you did meet the requirements, they would be subject to the same family maximum as the benefits already being paid to your husband, your son and you since they are all based on your husband’s earnings record. It is likely that the total benefits being received by the three of you has already hit the family maximum, so even if your grandchild were also entitled to a benefit it would not increase the total amount being received by the household.
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 email@example.com or 617-244-5551.