Parent Focus: Managing Benefits

The Basics

If your child gets benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medi-Cal coverage, you and your child need to follow the reporting rules so that there are no problems.

Fortunately, the rules are pretty simple. Your child just needs to make sure that all benefits programs know about his or her:

If your child is under 18, SSI and Medi-Cal may also need to get this information for you, your child’s other parent, and your child’s siblings who are less than 18 years old.

How Your Child Can Keep Benefits Up-to-Date

  1. Keep good records. Your child should keep a copy of all pay stubs, bank statements, benefits letters, and so on. A good idea is to keep all of these records in a binder so that nothing gets lost. Even if there have been no change in your child’s income, living situation, or benefits, your child should have these records on hand in case a benefits program wants to review them.
  2. Report all changes to the appropriate agencies. For SSI, your child should report changes to Social Security. For Medi-Cal, your child should report to the local county social services office.
  3. Follow any additional instructions. Sometimes a county caseworker or Social Security claims representative will ask your child to give other information. For example, they might ask for documentation of Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs) or proof that your child is in school for the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE).
What happens if benefits aren’t up-to-date?

If your child does not report changes, his or her SSI benefit might not be as high as it should be. Or, SSI might send too much, which is called an overpayment. If that happens, your child might have to repay the SSI overpayment.

If Medi-Cal pays for healthcare when it shouldn’t have been covered, your child might have to reimburse Medi-Cal for the cost of doctor’s visits and other medical services.

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