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Can a mother get in trouble for using their child's Social Security Benefits from the child's deceased father?

Ennis, TX |

My father passed away in 2006, when I was 10. I'm now 17. I thought my mother was supposed to hold some of the money back into a bank account for my first car, expenses, etc. The check came in the my name, so can the parent use it for bills, gas money, etc. What if none of it is used on the child? My checks stopped when I turned 16.

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Attorney answers 3


This is a very common misunderstanding of children in both benefits and child support cases. Payments for children are intended for the current support of the children, and not necessarily "things" for the child. Statistics have shown consistently that the cost of supporting a child is far greater than even most parents appreciate. It's not just clothing and food and medical care for the child. It is higher rent so the child has a bedroom, and a larger car-- everything from more laundry soap to more frequent replacement of the washer, dryer, and vacuum cleaner. In fact, very few goods and services purchased by a family cost the same for a family with a child as it costs a couple. There is no requirement in the Social Security system that your mother save any of your benefits for future needs. (And if she was transporting you in the family car, why shouldn't your benefits have help buy the gas?) "What if none of it is used on the child?" Unless you were homeless and starved, it was "used on" you.

Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

Marion W. Cain

Marion W. Cain


I am unclear as to why the checks stopped at 16 instead of the more common 18



I'm not sure, but I overheard her say if she makes under a certain amount of income then my checks will stop coming. Then, she will start to receive some in her name, I guess. I'm not quite sure.


I agree with Ms. Sinclair. Your mother had to use your check for the household's expenses which include the costs of raising you.

This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is not meant and should not be construed to be the formation of an attorney client relationship. I practice Virginia Workers compensation law and Social Security Disability law.


It sounds like the money was used almost exclusively on you, if you had food/shelter/clothes and an occasional trip to McDonalds. If you were actually naked, cold and hungry in Ennis, then you still developed priceless survival skills that will help you for the rest of your life. Either way, if Mom did not eat/beat/mistreat you, your glass is definitely half-full. I am pretty sure that she did the best she could under adverse circumstances. Even if you think that you could have done better, forgive her. She is the only Mom you have, and she would probably take a bullet for you if the opportunity arose.

We offer general concepts, but you should give ALL your facts to a licensed Attorney in your state before you RELY upon any legal advice.

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