Minors can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits if they are blind or disabled. A child who qualifies for benefits receives a monthly benefit amount, which is usually paid out to a representative payee. The representative payee can be the parent or guardian of the child, and is responsible for ensuring that the benefits are spent correctly for the benefit of the child. Generally, representative payees are vetted by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
A representative payee should only spend a child’s disability payments on the needs of the child, and keep proper records documenting this spending. Each year, the representative payee is required to submit a form to the SSA accounting for and detailing the spending of the benefits issued to the child. A representative payee’s misuse of funds can lead to fines and imprisonment, and a requirement that he or she pay back all misused funds.
The proper use of a beneficiary’s benefits includes using the funds to provide food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education and some recreation. Any unspent funds must be saved in an interest bearing account. If a child receives back pay of benefits, that money has to be kept in a separate account that is for the child’s benefit, including all interest. This is referred to as a dedicated account, and money in the account can only be spent towards a child’s education or job training, personal or medical needs, and other special needs – such as legal fees for the child. SSA approval is required before spending funds in a dedicated account.
A representative payee should not deposit any other money in a dedicated account except back pay benefits. Even the monthly benefits should not be added into this account. Monthly benefits can be placed in a representative payee’s own bank account if the payee is living in the same household as the child, as long as the representative payee can account for the entire amount of benefits paid into the account.
If a parent who is acting as a representative payee is unsure of how to properly spend the benefits received by a child, he or she can seek guidance from the SSA representative handling the child’s case, or from an experienced disabilities attorney. Getting approval before making purchases that a parent is unsure of will save the parent from having to later repay the money if the SSA determines the purchase was improper and not for the benefit of the child.
Contact A Disability Benefits Attorney
If your child is blind or suffers from a serious medical condition that has persisted for more than twelve months, he or she may be eligible for SSI benefits. The application process for disability benefits can be long and difficult for some people, even if they are eligible. For assistance filling out an application or appealing a denial of benefits, contact a social security disability benefits attorney with experience handling these kinds of cases. Contact the Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC for advice and guidance on your application today.