Fundraising Tips for Children who Financially Qualify for SSI
Sometimes, children who have certain medical conditions are eligible for SSI and SSI related Medicaid. These programs provide for very basic needs including direct medical coverage (Medicaid) and cost of food, shelter and clothing (SSI). These programs do not cover costs that exceed the basic needs of a medically fragile child. If your group is raising money for such a child and give this money directly to the family, you may jeopardize their eligibility for these programs. Any money that is given to the family must be reported to these programs and could result in a loss of benefits. To avoid this problem, and still help your family, please consider the suggestions below.
- Use a child’s name to solicit funds without any penalty from the program. Pplease obtain parental consent.)
- Use the child’s name to identify the account as a Benefit Trust Fund. (example: “Tommy Smith Benefit Trust Fund”) The bank will ask you to complete a form to apply for a non-profit tax ID number. This is a Dept of Treasury – IRS form number SS-4 (application for employer identification number).
- Make the funds accessible to family
- Write checks to the family
- Put any member of the family on the signature card for the account
- Give cash to the family
- Pay rent or mortgage
FOR SSI APPLICANTS/RECIEPIENTS
- Do not use the funds for Electric/Gas/Garbage Collection/Water/Sewer/Utility bills if the child is applying for SSI. (An exception is that in-kind gifts of food, shelter and clothing from a 501(c)(3) organization may be given.)
- Do not use the funds for food or shelter
- One car is allowed
- SSI benefits may be withheld for the month in which a gift is given. If the value of the gift exceeds the SSI payment, it may be worth it. A gift of cash should be spent in the month in which it is given.
DO USE FUNDS FOR
- Medically related costs (special car seat, therapy devices, assistive devices)
- Payments directly to vendors
- Electric/Gas/Garbage Collection/Water/Sewer/Utility bills unless the child is applying for or receiving SSI
- Phone bills
- Car repairs (make the check out the garage or shop)
- One car is allowed for Medicaid and SSI
- Gas station gift cards and telephone cards
- Replacing or repairing appliances
- Motel bills for staying overnight while on a medical trip
- Entertainment for the child/family
- Clothing or diapers
- Tuition, fees or educational expenses paid directly to school
The above suggestions are not legal advice and each SSI or Medicaid case is reviewed individually. The above suggestions may not apply in specific circumstances. If you have questions about a specific case, please contact a representative of Medicaid or SSI or an attorney.