US Government Information/Dependent Payments

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Question
I am a step mother to two girls whose mother has been drawing SS disability since 2003.  She has been drawing a check for both girls.  Oldest daughter is now 25 and youngest daughter turned 18 in January 2013.  The Father of the girls has full custody of them and always has since divorce.  I am the person providing financial support for these girls since 2003. Mother does not provide financial support.  Is this a fraud case?

Answer
Yes, it does sound like fraud if the mother received checks for the children and the money was not used for their care.  However, getting Social Security to care about the situation may be stuff due to their large workloads.  Especially since the fraud is not against them.  

You may want to have the girls request from Social Security the amount of benefits paid on their behalf since 2003 so you can determine if it is even worth your time pursuing the issue.  

The other problem is that unless Social Security was negligent when they appointed the mother as the payee for the children, they will only repay the money to the children once the mother has made restitution to Social Security. If she can only afford a very small payment this could take a long time. If Social Security finds that they were negligent when they appointed the mother as the payee for the children or if they failed to monitor how she was using their benefits, then they are required to pay the benefits to the children before getting restitution from their mother.

Below is the notice SS sends to a new payee after they make a determination about negligence. If the 18 year old will continue to receive benefits as a student in full time attendance at the high school level or below, she would be the new payee for her benefits.

You can see where they can select different paragraphs to put in the letter based on their findings.  You can give them a written statement (signed by the children) that the benefits were misused and why you think that and that SS was negligent in appointing her as the payee of the children when they did not live with her.  This will force them to make a determination about your allegation. You will need to stay on top of this as it is a workload that gets pushed to the bottom of their pile.

TN 31 (02-97)
NL 00703.203 Notice of Misuse Negligence Determination

(GN 00604.055)
Document Identifier for Word Processor: E3203
DPS
A. EXHIBIT LETTER

We are writing to let you know that we made a decision in the misuse case involving (1) former representative payee, (2) .

How We Reached Our Decision
3203A   We reviewed the facts in this case and decided that benefits were misused. We didn't follow our rules for choosing the most qualified person to manage (1) benefits. As a result, we are sending you the misused benefits of $ (2) . You should receive this money soon.
3203B   We reviewed the facts in this case and decided that benefits were misused. We didn't look at (1) use of benefits as closely as we should have. As a result, we are sending you the misused benefits of $ (2) . You should receive this money soon.
3203C   We reviewed the facts in this case and decided that benefits were misused. We didn't follow our rules for choosing the most qualified person to manage (1) benefits. We also didn't look at (2) use of benefits as closely as we should have. As a result, we are sending you the misused benefits $ (3) . You should receive this money soon.
3203D   We carefully reviewed the facts in this case and decided that we are not at fault in the misuse of benefits. We selected the proper payee for (1) based on our rules for choosing representative payees and the facts we had. And, we followed all our rules for monitoring the payee's use of benefits. We have asked (2) to pay us back the misused benefits of $ (3) . Any money returned will be sent to you.
B. REQUESTING INSTRUCTIONS

Send this notice to new representative payee or the beneficiary when a former representative payee has misused benefits and a negligence determination is made.
Select paragraph 3203A if there is misuse which resulted because we were negligent in our selection investigation of the representative payee.
Select paragraph 3203B if there is misuse which resulted because we were negligent in monitoring the representative payee's use of funds.
Select paragraph 3203C if there is misuse which resulted because we were negligent in both our selection investigation and monitoring of the representative payee's use of funds.
Select paragraph 3203D if we were not at fault.

The checks for the 18 year old child should begin coming via direct pay to her now that she is age 18 if she is still a full-time high school student.  Otherwise, the benefits stop at age 18.

Hope this helps.
Darlene

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Darlene Oldendick

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Social Security retirement planning and all questions about Social Security eligibility and entitlement.

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Worked for the Social Security Administration for 33 years

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http://www.socialsecurityadviceonline.com

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33 years employment with the Social Security Administration

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Many outstanding performance awards while employed at the Social Security Administration

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