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Harikrishna Majumdar
By HARIKRISHNA MAJMUNDAR - [email protected]



Q: I am more than 70 years of age and have a green card. A year ago, my daughter-in law died and my son has remarried as he has three children to look after. My new daughter-in-law, who is abusive, does not like to stay with me. My son also is not that cooperative. I have no one in India to care for me. Is it possible to get some help from government sources?

A: If you are in Florida, please find out whether there is any institution looking after old ladies in trouble. Please apply for help to Catholic charities. They may give proper directions. There is a rule that if the sponsor or sponsor's spouse
is abusive, the welfare department would give you shelter and food with medical
facilities. Please try.

Q: My son has an independent house. He also has a second apartment bought outright where my wife and I stay. We pay $700 a month to him toward rent. He has put his luggage in the house because the house, though small, is in a good locality. The market rent is around $1,000 a month. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers that we get free food and shelter and deducts some $300 monthly from our Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Is there any way to get full SSI? We want to stay in a senior retirement home in lesser rent but the son does not like it because of social prestige.

A: You can appeal to the administrative law judge. There are bright chances that you may get full SSI.

Q: Recently, we visited India and stayed there for two months. We did not inform SSA. If we now tell them, they may stop our SSI for two months or more. What is the best step to take?

A: Please inform SSA at the earliest. They may want to adjust the overpayment from future months' SSI.

Q: My wife and I both were sponsored by my daughter. I have my mother who is not happy in India and wants to stay with us at America. Can my daughter sponsor her?

A: No. Please wait till you get citizenship.

Q: My parents, both in their 60s, have come to visit me. Both of them are not married. I am a divorcee and a citizen. Is it possible for me to keep them with me? Will they get any benefit from welfare department if they overstay and do not go back.

A: No, please. Once they return in time, they are likely to get a 10-year visa. At this late stage, they may not get enough to pay for their medical expenses. If you are well provided and prepared to meet with all their expenditures, including medical ones, you can take the risk. It is more advisable to send sufficient funds to them. There are good elderly houses in India. Better try with them.


These questions and answers are courtesy of Harikrishna Majmundar of California, author of “Mapping the Maze: A Guide to Welfare for Elderly Immigrants.” He has advised several hundred welfare applicants. A copy of this 2003 published book is available for a suggested donation of $10, plus $2 postage, from H.J. Majmundar, c/o Niral S. Dwivedi, 15915 Farrington Drive, Tampa, FL 33647 or call (813) 978-1200 or (813) 978-4996 if you have a question.

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