Specific Situations > Young Widowed Parents

Social Security

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MikeR:
Nymets...

No, there is no earnings test for you. Your kids get SS survivor's benefits flat out. I was also working full time and well over the limit for personal survivor benefits but my kids got (one is still getting) benefits. Apply right away.

Tot he original poster - I know a widower who was "audited" ny SS and he had kept very detailed records of what he s[end on his kids - receipts, etc. He sent a book to them with a listing of all the expenditures, copies of receipts and their comment was "No one has ever done that before". Needless to say, they never asked him again.

For your case, just send copies of your recent utility bills, rent payments (that counts as much as a mortgage does!) any credit card statements that show what you bought for the kids, any receipts you might still have. On top of that, simply list any other expenditures you can think of (estimates are ok) and say you don't have receipts. Most people can demonstrate spending above the amount they receive for the kids.

The more paper you can give them the less they will bother you.

Other things to think about:
Entertainment (movies, school outings, vacations!, meals when taking trips)
Clothing
School supplies
Medical expenses (you should have EOB's to oshow what you were responsible and if you don't, ask your health insurer for an annual printout)
Sports team fees
Allowances


Don't worry,
Mike

MikeR:
Nymets,

There is no limit on how much you earn for KIDS' survivor benefits. If you are getting DIRECT survivor benefits, there is a limit. I also was the primary earner (the only earner, actually - my wife stopped working to take care of the kiss). I got benefits for both kids and I continued to work full time, earning well above the $17,000 mentioned in other posts.

Jennica,
As far as saving for college goes, it doesn't matter what money you save - cash is fungible. You can't say which dollar is yours and which is SS money if it's all in the same account. If they give you a dollar and you put it into your bank account, then spend a dollar on your kids, which dollar did you spend? Yours or SS's?

I have investment accounts for both of my kids, I used one for my somn's college and waiting to use the other for my daughter. I have the SS money paid into a regular bank account and then my financial guy automatically withdrawn money to put into their college accounts. I find it to be easier that way.

In general:
If you say you saved any amount, they will keep track and when your child turns 18 they will ask for it back and will then send your 18 y.o. a check for that amount. Although you could ask your kid to turn the money over to you, they don't LEGALLY have to. Why go through that? Just write that you spent it all.

Copies of mortgage payments (or rent checks), utility bills, phone bills, etc. are perfectly acceptable documentation of expenses. If you have one child, you can allocate 50% of those expenses to them. If you have 2 kids, they each get 1/3 allocated (2/3 total!). Just copy the bills, write on the copies how much was for the kid(s) and send them to SS. The more paper you inundate them with, the less likely they will keep asking questions.

An example:
                             Monthly Major Expenses
                             Total Amount   Amount allocated to 1 kid
Rent                       $1,000            $500
Utilities (heat, elect) $  150            $  75
Food                       $   200            $100
Clothing                  $     30            $ 50
Auto Exp                $   100            $ 50

Total                       $1,480            $740

Annual allocated to kid - $8,880.

This doesn't include any other expenses such as entertainment, school, vacations, toys, etc. As you can see, it isn't that hard to get to the total SS is giving you!

MikeR

Jennica:
Thank you for this. This information is so helpful!!!

Jennica

cathead:
Don't forget birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, any extracurricular activities or private lessons, sports equipment, meals out, movies out, any special TV programming you buy for him, his cellphone (if he has one), dental care, etc.

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