Richmond, VA asked in Social Security for Virginia

Q: I have a joint account with my grandma. She's get ssi. Her son is mad I have it. Is her money my money? Technically?

I have a joint account with my grandma. She's in the nursing home. I also have poa too. But we share a joint bank account. I have used her ssi on a couple things but always pay her stuff first and what I use I put cash in a box towards her funeral so whatever money I use I'm putting cash in a box for her. Since it's joint does it technically mean we share the money? Her son is being hateful and trying to get me for stealing her money

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1 Lawyer Answer
Susan Michele Schaefer
Susan Michele Schaefer
  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Prattville, AL

A: All the funds your grandma receives from SSI is all hers for basic subsistence and she must not have more than $2,000 in countable resources including savings to continue to be eligible. Technically, having power of attorney, or a joint bank account with the person who is receiving benefits is not the same as being appointed as a representative payee. These arrangements do not give you legal authority to negotiate and manage grandma's SSI benefits. If your grandma cannot manage her own SSI benefits, then Social Security will appoint a representative payee. You or someone else can apply to be her representative payee and be approved for this role. For an overview, see

There is also another important issue and that is the fact that your grandma is in a nursing home. Generally, if a person is in a nursing home or hospital (or other medical facility) where Medicaid pays for more than half of the cost of care, SSI benefit is limited to $30 a month. In some situations, your grandma may not be eligible for any SSI benefit. The only exception is if your grandma will only be in the nursing home for 90 days or less - this is what is called a "temporary institutionalization" benefit. Social Security needs to be informed of this situation immediately to avoid grandma incurring an overpayment. To learn more about SSI rules, go to

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