Spending of Social Security benefits

CarlettaAugust 14, 2004

Can anyone direct me to a site where it states the guidelines for spending of social security benefits paid to minors? My son recently died and his two children are getting what I think is a very generous amount. Their mother (from whom he was divorced) so far has spent all of their checks each month and the children have received very little benefit from the money. She rattles off some mumbo jumbo about the money can be spent for the benefit of the family, etc. etc. I feel sure that there must be something that can be done to prevent her from frittering away all of their money. One child is almost 14 and another is 15 so they only have 4 and 3 years to receive benefits.

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You might go down to the SS office to talk to a person. You say they were divorced? Did she have complete custody or part? If the husband was paying child support or had 1/2 custody, sometimes the courts will step in and control who gets the money now. Can you talk to your son's attorney to protect the kids? I doubt there is much you can do, but maybe the kids can do something. They might talk to a social worker or a legal person to see if the money can be put into a trust fund control by a non partical person or trust company. Another thing to check on is because of their age, see if the checks can come to them with their name on the check. Also find out if your state has grandparents rights? I agree, the money should go to pay for care of the children.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2004 at 12:41PM
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Generally, money that goes for the benefit of the children - whether by child support or trust or whatever - can be used by the children's parent or guardian to pay housing expenses like rent or mortgage, utilities, gas, food, clothing, medical care and so on. I doesn't need to be spent on items specific to the children, such as a bicycle or a computer or swimming lessons.

The children are probably too young to receive the benefits on their own. For example, minors who live on their own, who are in the military, or who are self-supporting are the sorts of cases where benefits may be paid to the minors, upon petition to the Social Security Administration.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 2:57AM
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Joann, I don't argue with the fact that some of the money should be spent to help with family expenses but I would think it should be on a proportionate basis. There is the mother, her boyfriend and the 2 kids so they should pay perhaps 1/2 of the living expenses, at best. But when the rent is $650, electric is $100, cable is probably $45, they have DSL which I am not sure of the cost, water is $35, right now there is no phone because she didn't pay the bill, that adds up to no more than $950. I don't know what she spends on groceries, but there again, the kids should only pay a proportionate part. The two children's combined income is $1,730. I know there is money for school lunches, etc. but ..... the boy has $35 in his account, according to what his mother told him. When asked where the money went, she tells him she "paid bills." They had no bills for anything else, such as dental work or doctor bills. I think it has gone for past due bills for herself and her boyfriend.

What I am told by Social Security, for any who are interested, is that I can make a complaint to the local office if I feel the money is being spent for something other than their needs, and the local office will investigate. It appears that there is enough leeway in what the guidelines state, that it will be hard to ever accomplish anything by complaining. I just don't want them to see them collect $9,180 per year for the next 3 years for the girl, and $9,180 for the next 4 years for the boy, and have nothing when they get ready to go to college.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 7:37AM
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My mother went through that, she had to fill out forms, but she could spend the money any way she wanted as long as my sister had food, clothes and a roof over her head. Mom saved it all for my sis, but when my sise became an adult, she gave it to mom for her security.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 8:21PM
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Carletta, since there were only two living in the house, Mom got to deduct half the house payment, half the grocery bill, half the utilites, all school expenses, clothes, etc., as my little sister's expenses. If she had done that there wouldn't have been any money left to give to the child.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2004 at 7:48PM
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I have spoken with the boyfriend and he has an attitude. He says he is in charge of their money, that he is the only one who cares about the kids, on and on. Their mother always defers to whatever man she happens to be living with/married to and this is going to be the same thing. He has told the kids their grandmother doesn't care about them, and my grandson did speak up and say "Yes, my grandmother does care about me." They gave them $100 each for school clothes. In today's world that's not very much, when you consider their total income. But I have decided that there's very little I can do so I have to just back off and think about something else. I will call the local office of SS and complain about their not being taken to the dentist and see what happens but I think that's about all I can do. This is very painful to watch since they just lost their father in May.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2004 at 10:07PM
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My heart goes out to you over the loss of your son and now the worry about your grandchildrens proper care. Since you are a concerned grandmother and have no legal guardianship rights, I don't really know what Social Security could do.

I'm sure it also hurts that she already has another man living with her so soon. You don't want to step on their toes or get on their bad side, or you may not get to see your grandchildren at all (without going to court). If this "boyfriend" is mistreating them or abusing them or if the mother is leaving them at home all hours without any supervision and you can somehow document this for the court, then maybe you have a leg to stand on. You are really treading on very thin ice in this situation because you aren't a guardian and she can pretty much do what she pleases with this money. I doubt any money is being put in a bank for their future expenses because it's being used to pay the bills. Does she work outside the home, as well as the boyfriend? Will they still be entitled to this money when they turn 18 or will they have to be in school to continue receiving it? A friend of mine, her children quit receiving benefits when they graduated from high school and turned 18. However, their situation was a divorce when her children were little.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 10:25AM
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I grew up on SS benefits, my mother was widowed when I was 8 years old, brother 6 and sister 1. SS was $200 a month and Mom had to feed, clothe, pay the house payment, utilities and everything else with that money. Needless to say, we ate a lot of tuna fish. When she remarried 8 years later, her and my stepdad, put all SS money into saving accounts for us. When I turned 18, there wasn't a lot of money, but it bought me a used car. If I would have continued onto college, the payments would have continued til I turned 21. My brother and sister did take advantage of this option.
I never complain about the SS dollars taken out of our pay checks today. The system really does work for some.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 12:31AM
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Kathy, My Mom (92) was married when they started soc sec and was very upset when they first started taking it from my Dad's pay check. She paid them a visit with a baby in her arms, they told her it was to take care of them in their old age. Her reply was, they would save for their old age, he countered with, and if your child gets sick and needs expensive care, you would have to spend your savings. Being the smart woman my Mom is, she didn't say anymore.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 7:39PM
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I feel really bad for your situation. My sister recieved SS benifits for her daughter. She also spent everything that came in the door. She also beat the heckout of the daughter on a regular basis. I finally turned her in to child protective services. The daughter was taken away for a time, and on her return to her mother, she had a guardian who managed the ss benifits. All was well the? NO!! my sister was very manipulitive, and found ways around all the rules, and spent it anyway. As for the money and things her father left in a savings account for her....gone as well. that's their story. Hope yours turns out better.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 10:42AM
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Does my ex daughter in law have the right to spend my grandaughters social securitys checks even though she makes over 100,000 a year and a boyfriend who works.She uses the social security to pay her mortgage of 1200.00

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 11:09AM
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According to the law she does.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 8:16PM
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