Social Security question

About 8 years ago my sons father died.

My son was eligible for and started receiving Survivor Benefits.

I know I was told when I signed all the paperwork, that all the money must be spent. Anything left over would be taken and if I wasn’t using the benefits at all it would be assumed that I didn’t need them and they would stop.

There was a small amount that was allowed to be saved, I think it was $1400/year.

I even remember discussing this with a social worker. I had mentioned to her that I didn’t know how I was going to spend his entire check on him (@$775/month) and she said that the money can be used towards rent, utilities, gas, etc as those are all expenses related to the child.

Some people told me I was wrong and that I should be saving money for him.

I looked and couldn’t find anything in writing as well as checking the website I didn’t come up with anything.

Each year I filled out the form showing where I spent the money and I always put 0 in the amount of money saved box.

Last year I called SS to ask how much money my son would be allowed to earn in a year while receiving SS.
The amount was high enough that I didn’t have to worry but during that conversation it came up about saving money and the woman I was talking to jumped all over me and told me that I should NOT have spent any of the money. That money is his and I should have saved it for him so I could give it to him on his 18th birthday.

So this year when I filled out the form I indicated that I had saved a small amount.

My sons benefits end this June when he graduates from HS.

Today I got a letter

  1. I will no longer be receiving his benefits, they will be going directly to him.

  2. I need to send back any money I receive after the date of the letter. That doesn’t make sense because the check I receive later this month is actually for April and should be mine.
    The checks for May and June will come in June and July and will go straight to him.
    I’m not arguing that the May check should come to me but that I shouldn’t have to send it back because it should still be a valid check.

  3. I need to send back all money I have saved, including all the interest earned on that money.
    So my questions are,

Is it okay to save some of the money?
Obviously the workers at Social Security give contradictory answers.

Why do they allow you to save a small amount if they are going to ask for it back?

Is it really fair to take it back? His father paid that money into the system and died before he got to use it.
It’s the same question I have because my father paid into the system for over 30 years, he paid the maximum each year and died before he could use it.
It seems like a the government is ripping people off by requiring you to pay into a fund that you lose if you die before you can use it.

Contact your Member of Congress for assistance. Most are very good at cutting the SSA red tape and getting the Straight Dope.

It seems to me that the whole program is a rip-off. I’ve been in the work force for 45 years now, and all that time, I’ve paid 7.65% of every dollar I’ve earned into the program. My employers have matched that figure. Had that money been invested privately, I’d likely be a millionaire by now and able to retire whenever I want. I’d also be able to leave that money to my heirs when I die. Instead, I have the promise of a meager pension when I turn 66 (not 65, as originally promised) that will disappear completely when I die (or, perhaps, offer a meager widow’s benefit to my wife).

If a private corporation ran a retirement program the way the government has run Social Security, its executives would be in prison.

(Sorry, by the way. I know this response doesn’t help with your dilemma, but I don’t know the answer to your original question, just needed to vent a bit as I get irritated every time the subject of Social Security comes up).

sahirrnee, I have the same situation. I receive money on my son’s behalf from SS, and I have banked most of it in his name. It is my understanding that that money belongs to him and cannot be taken back.

I would like to see how this is worded. Do they possibly mean that you need to send the money to him?

Are you sure it’s not because he turned 18? My son was still in high school when he was 18, so he continued to be eligible for benefits. However, the checks no longer came to me, they came directly to him. I was aware of this, so I contacted them ahead of time. I suspect if I hadn’t, there might have been a transition time and some adjustments…

My mom also banked our money. (But in her name and it later had to be spent due to other circumstances.) I have never heard of any rule of having to spend it. Not one bit.

Other types of aid might have this rule, but not SS.