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GRR! How dare they.... (SSA & death benefits, I owed a debt apparently...)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

ARGHAHGAHGH!  Venting here, but feel free to chime in if you know anything about this.  I could use some hugs too.


I got a nice letter in the mail from the Dept of the Treasury stating that they deducted $500 from our tax refund to pay off a debt to the Social Security Administration.  SUPPOSEDLY I was notified previously about the debt (um, NO, I wasn't). 

 

The debt is apparently mine, my SSN is the one on the letter. 

 

When I was 16, in 2007, my mom died.  She was receiving disabillity benefits and I started receiving death benefits.  I moved in with my bio-dad, who basically took me in just for my money (he kept over $10k that I never saw!) and he kicked me out on my 18th birthday.  Right before I turned 18 he told me that the SSA sent a letter in the mail stating that he had to send back all of the unused money.  I never saw the letter, he kept saying he didn't remember where he'd put it, etc.  Months later I asked the lady at the social security office about the letter and she said there was no such thing and I should've reported it (I had no idea, my dad had me brainwashed).  The death benefits had been going into a joint account with my dad and I.  When he kicked me out, I went to the bank and withdrew the $200ish dollars that were in the checking account and closed it.  I didn't have access to the savings account, where he would transfer the money.  That was his =/. 

 

Anyways-- somehow in all of this I owed the SSA $500.  How or why I don't know.  I'm going to be calling them.

 

I'm just so angry.  Three years later and I'm still dealing with this chaos!

 

And nowww we have to wait another paycheck to be able to move out, so our move-out date is closer to the middle of april, so likely the first of may will be our move-in date to wherever we go.  So so so frustrating!!! 

post #2 of 17

You might be able to challenge it. I'm not 100% sure about SSA, but I know if you owe SSI and you don't feel it's your fault, you can formally contest it. It wouldn't hurt to go into a social security office and see what you can find out.

 

Good luck. smile.gif

post #3 of 17
Aw, I'm so sorry! That really stinks (the whole story) and is so unfair! I would try to challenge/contest it. Can you call your dad and ask him for the $500? I'm sure it sounds like there is bad blood there but maybe if you don't care about what he thinks then it is at least worth a shot at trying to guilt him into it. GL!
post #4 of 17

I don't have any real advice, but I wanted to send some hug2.gif your way.  I know how frustrating the whole SSI/SSA thing can be.  I receive SSI and I'm supposed to receive SDI as well.  The SDI is always a small check and I will get it for three months or so.  Then I always get a threatening letter scolding me for being "over paid" and to compensate they don't send me the SDI check for the following three of four months. dizzy.gif This has been going on for years!  It's so ridiculous...I wonder who is in charge of all that chaos.  Luckily enough for me the check amount is so small that I barely notice not getting it.

 

You might want to devote a couple days to trying to solve it with them by phone.  It will take hours, but may be worth it if you have more time than money right now.  Or even better would be finding the local office and going to them to speak about it.  Again, it may take hours...but I find the people in the offices much more helpful than anyone I've ever spoken with on the phone.  They seem to try harder when they actually have to look at you face to face. 

 

Good luck.

post #5 of 17

If you can prove that your dad kept part of the survivor benefits meant for you, you can possible take him to small claims court. (there is a statute of limitations on this, not sure how long.) Your local representative's office (congressperson) or a free legal aid may be able to help you straighten out the SSI situation.

post #6 of 17



But her dad will just claim that he covered her housing/food/etc during that period....and that's where it went. IMO, you're probably better off trying to fight with SSI about it. Most likely it was overpayment after you reached 18 and they miscalculated something (common).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SleeplessMommy View Post

If you can prove that your dad kept part of the survivor benefits meant for you, you can possible take him to small claims court. (there is a statute of limitations on this, not sure how long.) Your local representative's office (congressperson) or a free legal aid may be able to help you straighten out the SSI situation.



 

post #7 of 17

So your landlord is willing to hold the apt for another month?  Your MIL is willing to let you stay another month? Hmmmmm interesting turn of events considering all the drama it took to even get you to this point

 

I second what CatLady said though.  I would seek out your local SS office and go down and talk to someone in person.  It will be much more effective and most likely be able to be resolved quicklu or at least you will be given the information needed to challenge it.  

 

Bottom line is they are not going to care that your bio dad had you "brain washed", that he "stole" money from you, that you didn't receive the letter.  Instead I would make sure you approach them in calm, MATURE, manner and deal with the facts at hand. 

post #8 of 17


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyClark View Post
But her dad will just claim that he covered her housing/food/etc during that period....and that's where it went. IMO, you're probably better off trying to fight with SSI about it. Most likely it was overpayment after you reached 18 and they miscalculated something (common).
 

Yes, this, on both counts.

 

Disclaimer: This is what I know about how survivor benefits work (which is different from SSDI and other programs) and is based on everything following policy. Obviously I realize that things don't always go exactly as they should.

 

My grandparents raised my cousins after their father died in an accident. (Mom was out of the picture and didn't want custody.) No one came to make sure that they spent the money or what they spent it on. They simply received survivor benefits based on what my uncle had paid in until my cousins were 18. BTW, my grandparents had every right to have that money as theirs because they were raising the minor children. That's the whole point of the money, not for it to be kept aside for you to have later. (My grandparents were completely responsible with the money. I'm just pointing out that the idea that your dad "stole" that money isn't accurate. He paid your living expenses - or should have. The money wasn't earmarked for you.)

 

Now, I know of several families who received over-payments for various things from social security or other social services programs, and yes you do eventually owe that money back. ILs got a payment from their state for adopting a SN child, and MIL said that they got checks for about 6 months after he turned 18, though she called every month and told them that they weren't supposed to get the money. I'm guessing that's what happened here. It has nothing to do with the money you took from the bank account. In the case of my above-mentioned cousins, I know that they both had to speak to an SSA representative when they turned 18 to say that they still planned to live with my grandparents until they graduated from high school, and then their benefits were extended the few months until that happened.

 

I would assume that someone sent a letter somewhere for you. Despite the bad reputation that bureaucrats have (and I get it, really!), there are rules in place for this sort of thing. By the time tax refunds are garnished, they've usually tried to contact you for a while. I don't know in your case since you haven't worked (or at least not for a long time) whether they may have sent things to your dad, and unfortunately you didn't get them. Still it shouldn't in ideal circumstances come out of nowhere.

 

What's going on with your apartment? Will you be able to get your deposit back? I'm thinking that you probably won't since you were supposed to move in this weekend. :( What did your MIL say?

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post


And nowww we have to wait another paycheck to be able to move out, so our move-out date is closer to the middle of april, so likely the first of may will be our move-in date to wherever we go.  So so so frustrating!!! 

 

Wait... you had already paid for an apartment with deposit and everything. How in the world does this change that?  How can this $500 affect anything when you already got your tax return (per your "MIL kicking us out" thread) and had already spent it a long time ago "entirely on bills" (the reason you couldn't pay your MIL the back rent you owe her).

 

I agree that you should find out about the paper trail on this, but I'm sure you'll get nowhere.  They're pretty careful about these things.  They probably over-paid you (or your father, I guess).  You're probably out the money with no hope of getting it back, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue it with the SSA.  Still... how does this change that you're not moving out now when your tax return (according to your other threads) was received and spent long ago?  I just wish you could get out of the toxic situation you are in.  I hope this isn't another excuse.  For your kids, please still try to get out.  Good luck!
 

 

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Wait... you had already paid for an apartment with deposit and everything. How in the world does this change that?  How can this $500 affect anything when you already got your tax return (per your "MIL kicking us out" thread) and had already spent it a long time ago "entirely on bills" (the reason you couldn't pay your MIL the back rent you owe her).

 

Thank you for asking this question. I thought about it earlier, but I feel sometimes that I seem overly negative on many of Megan's posts. She did say that she got the tax return and paid bills (mostly a cc) and couldn't pay her MIL. She also said that they spent all of her husband's pay to put down the deposit to secure the apartment, so I don't understand how the tax refund matters in terms of not being able to stay with the apartment.
 

 

post #11 of 17

Good point Velochic- I forgot about that part! I feels so bad the OP's kids.  I hope they really don't have to spend another month in that toxic (both physically and emotionally) hell hole.
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by velochic View Post

 

Wait... you had already paid for an apartment with deposit and everything. How in the world does this change that?  How can this $500 affect anything when you already got your tax return (per your "MIL kicking us out" thread) and had already spent it a long time ago "entirely on bills" (the reason you couldn't pay your MIL the back rent you owe her).

 

I agree that you should find out about the paper trail on this, but I'm sure you'll get nowhere.  They're pretty careful about these things.  They probably over-paid you (or your father, I guess).  You're probably out the money with no hope of getting it back, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue it with the SSA.  Still... how does this change that you're not moving out now when your tax return (according to your other threads) was received and spent long ago?  I just wish you could get out of the toxic situation you are in.  I hope this isn't another excuse.  For your kids, please still try to get out.  Good luck!
 

 



 

post #12 of 17

Was the $500 for moving out/in costs? 

post #13 of 17
A friend of mine just received a letter similar to yours stating that she had been "overpaid" survivor benefits and now the SS wants their money back. In her case, its a substantial sum. She and her husband now are putting off buying a house and getting pregnant so they can clear this debt. It suck monkey meat!
post #14 of 17

I think the OP posted this vent in February, so this must have been before the other posts about her MIL kicking her out.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by pupsnelda View Post

I think the OP posted this vent in February, so this must have been before the other posts about her MIL kicking her out.



Ah, thanks. I didn't even look at the original date. I wish people would give a heads-up when they've reviving old threads.

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

Ah, thanks. I didn't even look at the original date. I wish people would give a heads-up when they've reviving old threads.


Yeah, me either.  Time stamps and locations... I always just breeze past them and sometimes it gets me in trouble.   I don't understand the logic behind reviving old threads, so always assume they are new without looking.

 

Megan, I hope you're still on your way out of that toxic place.  I hope nothing has derailed your plans.

 

post #17 of 17

Sorry, that was *me* that revived. It showed up on my current posts or I'd never have seen it. Grr! I do hate whatever logic this software uses!!!  I come every day and just hit 'new posts' after seeing what my subscriptions were and this one came up. It does the same thing to me whenever I try to search, I get all posts from 2009 back and never anything current.

 

My bad!!!

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