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DD13 has unexpectedly qualified for SSI (I thought she would be denied). Legally I am her guardian; biologically she is my half-great-niece. It gets really complicated because she is legally a ward of the State of Oregon, we live in Washington, and since I am her aunt...I am also related to her. In some legal situations, she is her own household, in other situations, she is part of our household. She gets TANF (instead of child support from her bio-dad since he is not working) and I just got a notice that they are collecting child support from mom now too. I assume she will lose TANF in lieu of SSI, but the child support is going to make things confusing. Her mom changes jobs a lot (so does bio-dad) so the child support will vary month to month.

I applied 16 months ago, so she is getting a sizable back check. The rules around that and the two accounts required for her moneys are a bit overwhelming (but also lacking details at the same time). 

Where can I get good information on what I can use her money on and how to document it all. Plus, do I have to constantly report the varying child support each month? The parents are in two different states so the rules are different for collecting/distributing the payments.

The wording in the official online sources are just as complicated as her story. 

 

I have hesitated to apply for years, because of these complications. I regret it already and haven't even got her first deposit yet. OI!

 

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48 minutes ago, Tap said:

DD13 has unexpectedly qualified for SSI (I thought she would be denied). Legally I am her guardian; biologically she is my half-great-niece. It gets really complicated because she is legally a ward of the State of Oregon, we live in Washington, and since I am her aunt...I am also related to her. In some legal situations, she is her own household, in other situations, she is part of our household. She gets TANF (instead of child support from her bio-dad since he is not working) and I just got a notice that they are collecting child support from mom now too. I assume she will lose TANF in lieu of SSI, but the child support is going to make things confusing. Her mom changes jobs a lot (so does bio-dad) so the child support will vary month to month.

I applied 16 months ago, so she is getting a sizable back check. The rules around that and the two accounts required for her moneys are a bit overwhelming (but also lacking details at the same time). 

Where can I get good information on what I can use her money on and how to document it all. Plus, do I have to constantly report the varying child support each month? The parents are in two different states so the rules are different for collecting/distributing the payments.

The wording in the official online sources are just as complicated as her story. 

 

I have hesitated to apply for years, because of these complications. I regret it already and haven't even got her first deposit yet. OI!

 

I am surprised you have to document how you spend any of it.  Unless someone is out to prove f that your aren't providing for her basic needs why would you need documentation?

Edited by Scarlett
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1 minute ago, Scarlett said:

I am surprised you have to document hw you spend any of it.  Unless someone is out to proof that your aren't providing for her basic needs why would you need documentation?

From SSA:

Representative payees are required to maintain detailed and accurate records of all funds received and spent in order to provide a true accounting to SSA. A detailed record of expenditures may include:

  • Receipts
  • Bank statements (including electronic versions)
  • Leases (rental agreements)
  • Cancelled checks (including electronic versions)
  • Bills
  • Invoices
  • Statements signed by the claimant confirming receipt of funds for personal use

NOTE: A payee must save records for at least two years and make them available to SSA upon request.

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1 minute ago, Tap said:

From SSA:

Representative payees are required to maintain detailed and accurate records of all funds received and spent in order to provide a true accounting to SSA. A detailed record of expenditures may include:

  • Receipts
  • Bank statements (including electronic versions)
  • Leases (rental agreements)
  • Cancelled checks (including electronic versions)
  • Bills
  • Invoices
  • Statements signed by the claimant confirming receipt of funds for personal use

NOTE: A payee must save records for at least two years and make them available to SSA upon request.

That is crazy. Well, just assign her a portion of all major expenses in the home and let it go toward that for record keeping.  

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I remember needing to something similar for my two girls who were still young teens when my dh became disabled and they began receiving SS payments.  I was really nervous that I wouldn't be able to prove that I really needed it, even though of course we didn't have my dh's income anymore (which was the only household income).  I remember the wording made me think that if I couldn't really back it up with receipts and records, I'd have to return their payments.  But for us, it was just a one-time deal and more straightforward.  Basically I had to explain that yes, all of their payments were needed for everyday needs such as food, clothing, school and extra-curricular activities, medical, etc.  I didn't have to prove it or list exact amounts for each category, or even any amounts.  I pretty much just had to say yes, I needed it all.   Are they asking you to do more than that?

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Okay, I was so slow in typing my response (had many interruptions!) that I see you're expected to keep receipts and such.  I think if you keep a general household record for home payments, groceries, medical, health insurance, etc. etc., and count her as 1/4 of the household (or whatever it is), that should be good... Don't you think?

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How often are you required to do that?  I only had to do it once.

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My child gets about $600/month in SSDI. My ex files a very basic statement for the SSA each year, attesting to the amount of it spent on child's behalf, and the amount still available. It does not ask for a breakdown of expenses on the form. We keep track by having the money direct deposited into a custodial checking account, which we only use for things that benefit our child. About half of it goes to pay for dance related stuff. The other half covers medical copays and prescriptions. Sometimes we write a check directly from the custodial account, but also about every 3 months I go through our bills that we paid from our accts, and I reimburse us for stuff that was for our child, and just make a note on the memo line of the custodial check. To complete the form for SSA, we just list a total spent (add up all the payments made), and what the remaining balance is.

If we wanted to, we could deduct a portion of the money towards the mortgage, health insurance, etc, but the money is always spent before we would need to do that.

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1 minute ago, J-rap said:

I remember needing to something similar for my two girls who were still young teens when my dh became disabled and they began receiving SS payments.  I was really nervous that I wouldn't be able to prove that I really needed it, even though of course we didn't have my dh's income anymore (which was the only household income).  I remember the wording made me think that if I couldn't really back it up with receipts and records, I'd have to return their payments.  But for us, it was just a one-time deal and more straightforward.  Basically I had to explain that yes, all of their payments were needed for everyday needs such as food, clothing, school and extra-curricular activities, medical, etc.  I didn't have to prove it or list exact amounts for each category, or even any amounts.  I pretty much just had to say yes, I needed it all.   Are they asking you to do more than that?

It is all a bit confusing. I applied for dd a year ago. There were numerous delays. I got a letter one week that said they wanted a physical/mental exam, then got a letter the next week saying they approved her case.  All the information I have, is from a couple phone interviews and a few letters written in SSA legalese. 

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It can be used on food, clothing, housing, medical care, and personal needs. So like 'her portion' of food and housing (although this has wiggle room for really poor families). Also tutors, lessons, special camps, sports - anything that can obviously benefit the child, particularly their specific additional needs. So it's really very open. 

BUT, your back payment is different, it can't be used on basic needs. It has to be put in a special account (which will not count toward her 'savings') and spent on things like therapy, rehab, special equipment that benefits the additional needs, even modifications to the house if and only if you can prove a really direct connection between the modification and the additional need. There are special ways the account needs to be set up. 

I think these articles are pretty thorough: this one is about how you can spend it in general, and the second one is specifically about the dedicated account for for back payments and how those specifically need to be spent. 

I think you will find it easy to spend and track the monthly checks, and even the back pay isn't very restricted. Just be really careful setting up the dedicated account. 

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40 minutes ago, katilac said:

It can be used on food, clothing, housing, medical care, and personal needs. So like 'her portion' of food and housing (although this has wiggle room for really poor families). Also tutors, lessons, special camps, sports - anything that can obviously benefit the child, particularly their specific additional needs. So it's really very open. 

BUT, your back payment is different, it can't be used on basic needs. It has to be put in a special account (which will not count toward her 'savings') and spent on things like therapy, rehab, special equipment that benefits the additional needs, even modifications to the house if and only if you can prove a really direct connection between the modification and the additional need. There are special ways the account needs to be set up. 

I think these articles are pretty thorough: this one is about how you can spend it in general, and the second one is specifically about the dedicated account for for back payments and how those specifically need to be spent. 

I think you will find it easy to spend and track the monthly checks, and even the back pay isn't very restricted. Just be really careful setting up the dedicated account. 

In the interview, they asked how much she pays us for housing each month. I was on the spot, and said I didn't know, but I came up with a number of $300. He said it would reduce her benefit if I said zero, but it was ok to say zero if I wanted to.  Honestly, we would still have the same house and car without her..... but she eats, uses water, uses gasoline for errands, furniture wear and tear etc. But how do I put a number on those? I know I spend the money, but it is interwoven and not a set number. Since I said $300, does that limit the household number to that figure? Ahhh. I am sure it will work out in the end, but right now, it is hard to wrap my head around justifying it all. I am used to money showing up on her card, and just using it as needed. The amount she used to get was minimal compared to her actual expenses, so it wasn't an issue. I miss the simplicity!

Those links help. Thank you.


 

Edited by Tap

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I am not positive on a child as mine are over 18.   

For household you can take the mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, food, etc and divide by the number of people in the house .   That is then her "share".

For the back payment, you might be able to get the $300/month x 16 (or however many months the back pay is for) to you for payment of her housing expenses .

Then you can also use the back payment for larger things.   I specified that I bought my DD a new mattress and box spring.   A new quality bike shop bike.  Good tennis shoes that fit her well from the running store (she has mild CP so cheap shoes aren't supportive), etc.   You could buy furniture too or a TV, iPad or laptop for her.  This is the time to think of big ticket items that might last year for years.

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Following.  As soon as we become my nephew's legal guardians, his SSI check will come here.  It hasn't gone anywhere for 2 months (will be 3 by the time we are legal) but I don't know if he will get backdated checks or not.  He gets roughly $500/mo.  

However, that MAY just go directly to preschool/childcare, so it may not matter.

And, I am not sure we have to log anything, I will need to find out.

We are also across state lines (NV and NC)

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DS got SSI for 10 years and I never had to prove or justify anything. Once a year when I got the report to send back, I just wrote in that I used the entire amount every month - nothing was saved - and checked the box that said it was all used for his care (which included everything from rent to birthday gifts).  It ended 3 years ago So I don’t know if things have changed since then.

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4 hours ago, Ottakee said:

I am not positive on a child as mine are over 18.   

  • For household you can take the mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, food, etc and divide by the number of people in the house .   That is then her "share".

For the back payment, you might be able to get the $300/month x 16 (or however many months the back pay is for) to you for payment of her housing expenses .

Then you can also use the back payment for larger things.   I specified that I bought my DD a new mattress and box spring.   A new quality bike shop bike.  Good tennis shoes that fit her well from the running store (she has mild CP so cheap shoes aren't supportive), etc.   You could buy furniture too or a TV, iPad or laptop for her.  This is the time to think of big ticket items that might last year for years.

For this, how do you shift the money from their account to yours? Write a check from them to you? 

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5 minutes ago, Tap said:

For this, how do you shift the money from their account to yours? Write a check from them to you? 

I have an ssi payee account for each child.  Then out of there I have an automatic transfer set up each month for housing share that goes from their said account to my account.  It is just noted as "........housing share".   

Then each child also has a person (separate account) debit card.  Each week I have an auto transfer to give them $5, 10, 15, etc each week.  Then they can spend that as pocket money for fast food, a snack, trinkets at the store, etc.   

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Just now, Ottakee said:

I have an ssi payee account for each child.  Then out of there I have an automatic transfer set up each month for housing share that goes from their said account to my account.  It is just noted as "........housing share".   

Then each child also has a person (separate account) debit card.  Each week I have an auto transfer to give them $5, 10, 15, etc each week.  Then they can spend that as pocket money for fast food, a snack, trinkets at the store, etc.   

That makes perfect sense! Thank you!

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22 minutes ago, Tap said:

That makes perfect sense! Thank you!

Then if I have to turn in any records, I can just print out the bank statements.   If I need to transfer $ from them to me I just not what it was for on the transfer.....like mom gave $20 cash for movies, or $25 for boccee ball set, etc.

I have never been closely questioned.

I do have to report their wages from any job monthly.  You might need to report the child support that changes month to month.

If she is a family of one, she might qualify for her own food card/EBT 

As you noted above, she is a family or one, or part of your family of......, Or she is her own family but you count her in your family or any number of confusing and ever changing options depending on the program, state, etc.

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4 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

Then if I have to turn in any records, I can just print out the bank statements.   If I need to transfer $ from them to me I just not what it was for on the transfer.....like mom gave $20 cash for movies, or $25 for boccee ball set, etc.

I have never been closely questioned.

I do have to report their wages from any job monthly.  You might need to report the child support that changes month to month.

If she is a family of one, she might qualify for her own food card/EBT 

As you noted above, she is a family or one, or part of your family of......, Or she is her own family but you count her in your family or any number of confusing and ever changing options depending on the program, state, etc.

Do you save the receipts from things like movies etc or is just the transaction note enough? Do you keep a separate ledger or use only the bank transfer notes? The later seems wayyyyyy easier and less stressful. 

Our state counts the income of everyone in the physical house towards income limits for food, so she doesn't qualify. 

Edited by Tap

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44 minutes ago, Tap said:

Do you save the receipts from things like movies etc or is just the transaction note enough? Do you keep a separate ledger or use only the bank transfer notes? The later seems wayyyyyy easier and less stressful. 

Our state counts the income of everyone in the physical house towards income limits for food, so she doesn't qualify. 

I don't keep receipts.  Just the bank statements. I am payee for 4 different people and I would go nuts if I had to do that.

I have also heard from Social Security that they rarely ask for documentation or audit....unless the person you are payee for or someone else has a real, legitimate concern you are taking their money.

I have a debit card for the payee account that I use for most store/online expenses....clothes, shoes, their own movie ticket, outings, etc.  

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