Author Topic: Social Security  (Read 3568 times)


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Social Security
« on: December 02, 2015, 12:12:58 PM »
I get Social Security payments for my children, and I've been told over and over that when the year-end questionnaire comes I should mark that I used it all for their support rather than listing that I saved some of it.  Last year after submitting this form I got a call from SS essentially asking if I was sure this is what I did, and my answer was yes.  This year I got another call and now they are asking for details on how I spent these funds - on the phone she even asked me what my mortgage payment was, for example.  While I'm happy not to have a mortgage payment, I got the feeling that it wasn't the 'right' answer.  I said I would have to compile that list and so I have 30 days to do this.

Well.  I really don't know how much of that money goes to my kids' upkeep, because all of our funds get comingled.  Has anyone else dealt with this level of scrutiny?
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Re: Social Security
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2015, 02:08:09 PM »
I haven't been audited yet, or called for that matter but it makes me think that I need to be prepared should it happen.

Sorry that you're dealing with this.   My son's SS payments stopped once he graduated from high school, I still get payment for my 17 y/o daughter.   I figure that I use all SS funds and more on her care, it would be a chore to put together some kind of financial proof though.   

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Re: Social Security
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2015, 06:53:43 PM »
I haven't been scrutinized that way but have thought about it.  I was to,d by my accountant that you divide all expenses by the number of people in the home to get what you spend on each child.  If no mortgage you still pay taxes on your home. Electric, heat, cable, phone, cell phone, groceries, clothes, school supplies, car payment, gas, sports and hobbies, healthcare costs including what you contribute for insurance, all of it. 

What a pain in the neck to gather all of that!  Good luck and let us know how it goes. 
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Re: Social Security
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2015, 08:08:28 PM »
I have not had that level of scrutiny. I have started keeping a spreadsheet spending. All household expenses(as listed by Trying) divided by 3 plus each kids childcare and clothing and whatnot. Vacations too. I typically stop once I reach their annual SS amount out of laziness.

Bummer that they have targeted you for audit. Sound like a pain in the ass.
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Re: Social Security
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2015, 08:54:26 PM »
Someone from the *old* board was audited - it happens now and then. Basically, they are just doing a random check. You likely can show that you paid more than you are getting to take care of your kids without too much difficulty.

There are a lot of living and entertainment expenses that qualify. Some are:

Rent (you said no mortgage, but your rent also qualifies)
Food (if you charge your groceries, pull out copies of the CC bills and circle the ones from supermarkets)
Utilities - light, heat, water, trash, etc.

For the above, you can use a portion of the expenses. If you have 2 kids, you can allocate 1/3 to each (the last third is for you).

Clothing - same thing if you charged them
Anything for school such as supplies, class trip costs, etc.
Entertainment - sports fees, vacations, etc.
Religious education fees
Medical copays, etc.
Some of your auto expenses (gas, insurance, maintenance) for getting them to the places they need to go - school, doctors, playdates, etc. Not sure how you would allocate this but submit it to SS and see what they say.

Basically, anything you spend money on your kids for should qualify. Just get the bills together, circle the amounts that relate to the kids and send it to SS. Usually, their share of rent, food, utilities will cover the lio's share of what they get, if not all of it.

Cathryn, your love made me what I am today.I am in awe of you.



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Re: Social Security
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2015, 07:47:08 AM »
Last year I just marked all was used for kids but was aware that this scrutiny was a possibility.  I started a spreadsheet and followed the same approach that others have mentioned.  Dividing all expenses by 3 put them over the amount they received from SS.  I could not count them as dependents with IRS last year since I did not provide more than half of their support but wondering if that has anything to do with who gets audited.


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Re: Social Security
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2015, 08:41:35 AM »
I haven't dealt with this either; but I know it is possible.  I have a spreadsheet too that tracks expenses and my bank statements to back it up.  I have 2 children so 2/3 of the expenses like everyone else noted.  Add in clothes/shoes, extracurricular activities, entertainment, the occassional vacation, barbershop/salon visits, summer camp, child care when school is closed, etc, I'm way over. 

Now that private school and daycare are behind us I will no longer be claiming them as dependents; but even without those two things I'm still spending way over what they get.  Once you begin to take a look at it, I'd be willing to bet you find the same.


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Re: Social Security
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2015, 10:06:04 PM »
My stepson is disabled. I've been thru this numerous times. I split all the expenses like rent and utilities. Guess a reasonable number for clothes, shoes, food. Add in a small amt for recreation. The expenses are greater than his benefits. I tell them That's why I have balances on my utilities. Be sure you do spend the money. Good luck. It is scarier on paper than in person if you have an interview
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Re: Social Security
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2015, 10:20:20 PM »
When I went to apply for the SS benefits they actually cautioned me that it would be good to have spending records for this purpose.

I track my spending in the Mint app and can tag categories as kid spending, if anyone is interested in spreadsheet alternatives.

Hope things go smoothly for you.


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Re: Social Security
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2015, 06:11:56 PM »
I've never had them audit me.  I hope I never do.  I wonder if income plays a role in who gets audited? 
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Re: Social Security
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2017, 09:08:30 AM »
This will be my first year having to fill out this information. I have been surfing the web and couldn't really find what I wanted. I found some info here. I thought others might want to read it too.

I was happy to have found this. I have not made up a spreadsheet or anything though. Input on anything else would be great.
Serpico mentioned that someone stated to mark that nothing had been saved, is this right? My goal has been to try and save for them for college. I have only been able to here and there but ultimately that is my goal.


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Re: Social Security
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2017, 02:43:52 PM »
Here the deal on saving the SS moneys.

Certainly you can save it. BUT, if you do, and report it as saved, the SS Administration can ask you to return the saved amount. Because, their reasoning is, if you could save it, you didn't need it for the children's support.

So, my advice is to always report nothing saved. It was all spent on all the items mentioned above. Whether you are putting it aside for college is your own business, not uncle Sam's.

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Re: Social Security
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2017, 08:18:19 AM »
This is very insightful - I never knew that SS could have so much say in how we spent our deceased spouse's social security for our kids. I fill out the regular questionnaires but have never been scrutinized more than that. I honestly need all of mine for childcare costs (for his only other caregiver other than me) so I use it for that purpose. I can't imagine there's an issue if you save some one month or two then spend it down the road?


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Re: Social Security
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2017, 08:51:56 AM »
Yes, you spend it all.  Never save or that saved amount  will go back or to another account when they are 18 to access.

My tax guy had me do an estimate to use as I get spousal benefits and my son gets his and I work pt. Time.  He researched it as I make a lot compared to others.  He said I needed to justify both allotted amounts plus double to show I needed it but yet still pay a majority or my kid would not be my dependent but the federal government when taxes came. 

Not hard to show expenses.  So many extras come up.  T-shirt for band, $25 for bio lab fee.  Camp fee.  New bike as he outgrew the old one.  Sports uniform.  This is all above room, board, transportation.  But yes, they could come look.  Drives me crazy.  My LH paid into it but have to justify getting it now.  Another thread....


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Re: Social Security
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2017, 02:52:15 PM »
Is there a limit on how much you can earn as logically I would think this would be treated as child support.  I was the primary breadwinner before my husband passed away.  My kids would qualify for survivor benefits but I know I would not qualify for the ongoing ones as I work FT.

I just got the death certificates today and I was going up to our social security office early next week.