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Mariah Carey’s estranged sister struggles to get Social Security benefits

Mariah Carey's estranged sister struggles to get Social Security benefits

A Greene County woman, the estranged sister of Grammy Award-winning singer Mariah Carey, seeks help getting her Social Security benefits back after they were cut to $30 a month due to apparent error by the Social Security Administration.

Alison Carey, 60, says she struggles with homelessness and the effects of a brain injury she suffered in a home robbery.

She was paid $794 a month in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) until she received a July 20 letter saying her benefits were being cut due to overpayment.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) letter alleges that Carey was wrongly paid $3,176 from April to July when she was in a “medical facility” and should have been paid only $30 a month. Carey’s SSI was then reduced to $30 per month to repay the SSA.

David Baker, a friend and advocate for Carey’s, said the SSA believed Carey had been in a physical rehab facility at the time, when she had only been there the month of April, after which she began renting an apartment in Greene County.

Baker said he and Carey appealed the cut online but never got a response.


Carey wrote to the SSA’s Hudson office three times to challenge the decision. In an Oct. 1, letter, Carey wrote that she had been at the physical rehabilitation center in April and later hospitalized twice, but her time as a patient was only nine weeks in the four-month period.

Carey, Baker said, never received a response to any of the letters, the latter of which was confirmed via certified mail.

In an interview, Carey said she had “no idea” why the SSA claims she was hospitalized for four months.

“I’m not surprised because these kinds of places don’t contact you, they don’t respond,” she said.

Carey has short-term amnesia from an injury she sustained during a home invasion while living on Long Island in 2015, according to Baker. A man hit her on the head with a baseball bat, stole jewelry and “left her for dead,” Baker said.

Carey had recently been homeless for a year, according to one of her letters to the SSA. When asked about this, Carey said she couldn’t remember, “but I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Baker now sees Carey daily, he said, and recently set up a… GoFundMe Page to pay for new dentures for Carey after she broke them in the fall. He also checks her phone to see if the SSA has responded.

Baker had given Carey money so she could stay in her $700 a month apartment, Carey said.

“I don’t know how he did it… he did everything he could to help me, I really appreciate that,” she said.

In mid-October, after receiving just $30 in total in benefits for the previous three months, Carey contacted Senator Chuck Schumer’s office, according to Baker. An employee arranged for the SSA to contact Carey and describe what she was required to provide to prove she was living in an apartment and not a medical facility. Carey also asked the SSA for a month’s allowance while her residency was examined.

No payment has been received yet. A representative from Senator Schumer’s office could not be reached for comment. The SSA did not respond to the Times Union’s questions about the matter.

Carey said she has been estranged from her sister Mariah and their mother for years.

In 2020, Mariah Carey released her autobiography, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” in which she alleged that Alison “drugged” a 12-year-old Mariah with Valium and offered her cocaine. The book also claimed that 20-year-old Alison gave Mariah third-degree burns and tried to recruit her as a sex worker for a friend Mariah suspected was a pimp.

Alison filed a subpoena with the Manhattan Supreme Court in February, declaring her intention to sue Mariah for $1.25 million for defaming her in the autobiography, according to court records.

The subpoena calls the charges in the book “outrageous claims” that were made “knowing that” [Alison] has been severely and permanently damaged as a result of being coerced by [Carey’s mother]while a pre-teen, to attend terrifying middle-of-the-night satanic worship gatherings that involve ritual sacrifice and sexual activity.”

Lawyers representing Mariah Carey responded later that month with a demand for an official complaint, but David Baker, Alison’s friend and attorney, said it had not yet been filed.