How Should SSI Benefits for a Child be Managed?
What is the best place to deposit SSI benefits for an infant?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are available to children under age 18 who are disabled and whose families are low-income. A single parent with one child is limited to $1,868 in unearned income and $3,781 of earned income (in 20123). A two-parent household with one eligible child is limited to $2,325 and $4,695 a month, respectively. (The figures increase for families with more than one child and can be higher in some states that supplement the federal SSI benefit. They also get complicated if the parents have both earned and unearned income.)
Since the family’s income must be low, in most cases the SSI benefit will be spent down by the end of the month and not accumulated. As a result, there’s probably no problem with the child’s SSI being deposited in a parent’s account. However, if the funds are not being spent in the month received or the child receives a large payment of past-due benefits, they belong to the child and should be placed into an account in their Social Security number. The parent or another adult typically becomes the “representative payee” for the child and opens the account in that capacity.