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Elderly Parents Moving In? How Charging Rent Keeps Government Benefits Coming

June 25, 2012

Ever thought of charging your parents rent? That’s what one expert says you might want to do if they move in with you. Otherwise, they may not get their full government benefits.

At, personal-finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox goes over some financial consequences of having an elderly parent live with you. She writes:

Then there’s the potential impact on benefits an aging parent may be receiving, such as Supplemental Security Income. “Unless the parent is paying rent, if that parent is getting SSI benefits they’re going to be reduced by one-third,” says [elder-law attorney Jack J.] Hetherington. That’s because SSI treats free room and board as “in-kind support and maintenance.”

For this reason, Hetherington says it’s best for many families to have a rental agreement under which parents pay fair market rent.

Hetherington also recommends having a caregiver agreement, which we talk about in “How to Get Paid to Care for Your Elderly Parents.”

You may also be interested in these previous OurParents posts and articles:

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

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