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Grandparents Can Receive Disability Benefits When Caring for Grandchildren

Many grandparents are finding retirement much different than expected—in 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 7.27 million grandparents were raising their grandchildren. This can cause a heavy financial burden, leading many to look for financial assistance options, including disability benefits.

Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability regulations for grandparents can be complex, often requiring a flowchart and a genealogical tree diagram. Fortunately, many grandparents are able to receive financial assistance under SSA’s disability guidelines. Seeking guidance from a Social Security Disability representative during the application process helps grandparents successfully maneuver the system and make important life decisions that may affect benefits later.

Consider the case of a retired grandparent with the responsibility of caring for minor grandchildren. In this situation, the grandparent is able to finally retire, but they have grandchildren who need help. Although the grandparent has been providing financial assistance for years, now the grandchildren move in for more consistent care and support. The grandparent’s child, the parent of the minor children, is disabled. What can be done?

In this case, it is helpful if the parents are either disabled or deceased prior to the grandparent taking in the grandchildren; it would be more difficult to get benefits if the parent had not been found disabled before the grandparent began full-time care. Moreover, because the children now live with the grandparent, it will be easier for the grandparent to be the representative payee rather than the parent. After receiving the benefits, the grandparent can get Social Security benefits for the grandchildren until they turn 18.

As more families are depending on grandparents to care for minor grandchildren later in their retirement, these benefits are helpful for families across the U.S. Moreover, the grandparent’s years of working help to cover these benefits and should be utilized when necessary. Social Security Disability benefits are well-earned financial options for grandparents who are seeking assistance while caring for children of disabled and/or deceased parents.

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