Q. My mother has been drawing SSI for a while now and we get child support which is not much for my brother, 16 and me, 19. That is the only income we get and I am in the nursing program at college. I get the Pell grant but after my tuition and fees and books are paid I have nothing left. I was wondering if we could draw a check off her check?


A. Is your mother receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or is she receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits? The Social Security Administration administers both programs, but they are very different.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a work related benefit based on payroll tax contributions on earnings. If your mother is receiving SSDI your 16-year-old brother may be eligible for a dependent benefit. That benefit will end when he reaches age 18 – 19 if he is still in high school. No Social Security benefit is payable to a college-age dependent.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is an assistance benefit for aged, blind or disabled individuals with little or no income or assets. SSI is payable only to the individual. Social Security law does not provide a dependent benefit for a child of an SSI recipient.