Question about dedicated account for disabled child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by moonglow, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    What happens when they are no longer disabled? My son was finally approved some years ago for disability but he got a big lump sum of back pay which I had to put in a dedicated account that had strict guidelines on for what it could be spent on. Anyway a year and a half ago, he was reviewed and no longer considered disabled. So his monthly checks stopped but no one said what I am suppose to do with this account. They had just had me turn in all my receipts and stuff showing what I had spend any of it on so they could see I wasn't abusing it. Then I never heard from them..they never sent that stuff back either.

    But now he is no longer disabled so do those guidelines still apply? I can't find a thing on the social security site about what happens with this account when they are no longer disabled. I would like to use some of it to go buy him some clothes and other things...money is tight right now like with alot of people, but I don't want them coming back at me later and saying I have to pay them back for that cause I didn't use it only for medical, school or his disability..which he no longer has...ugh.

    Thanks.

    Julie
  2. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I would think he is entitled to it. They are done monitoring how it is spent since he no longer recieves payments. However the backpay in the account? That was HIS money that he WAS entitled to. I cant imagine how they can do anything at this stage. It was simply his money all along. I can't see any reason why you can't utilize those funds. Maybe get a folder for reciepts but I don't see a reason to ever need them.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Moderator Staff Member

    I cant see any problem as long as you are buying something for him. Heck...even if you bought him a car, I dont think it would be a problem.
  4. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    Yea I agree..it is his money, but apparently due to parents with disabled children taking their money and spending it on other things...not on the child at all, they cracked down on this some years ago and set up strict guidelines. I had to open a special savings account for this back pay and the rules were it was to be spend only on certain things..medical, educational and things related to his disability. His monthly checks were suppose to go towards clothes, food, etc...

    What made me so angry is since we are low income, he has a medical card that covers all his medical needs and pays for his mediation. Don't have to pay the school fees, and his lunches are free too. Since his disability was emotional...I didn't need it to built a ramp or anything for him..not that type of disability. So I rarely used it. I did use it for chiropractic care for his back since his medical wouldn't cover that..and one time he sprained his ankle badly and the charge for the brace wasn't covered so I used it for that.

    If I don't use it within those guidelines they can make me pay it back. I am disabled and that is what we live on...I really couldn't afford for them to take money out of my disability check and I sure don't want to be in legal trouble for not following their guidelines. But like I said, since he is no longer disabled it doesn't seem like this would apply anymore...was hoping someone knew for sure and had a link.

    I know I should just call and should have called a long time ago but frankly those people scare me...I always feel like I will be in trouble...:(
  5. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    hey Janet...long time no see...you remember me? ;)
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Moderator Staff Member

    Sure I remember you! Moon, a car for you to take him to and from appointments is considered something related to his disability. That is what I meant by you could even buy him a car.

    They never asked me a darned thing about Corys back pay but he didnt get much because he was approved fairly quickly way back then. Now I got a substantial back payment for myself and I didnt have to prove what I used it on. I paid back bills, bought a car, bought some stuff we desperately needed and saved a bit, but you cant save too much or they penalize you. I put a huge down payment on my car.
  7. klmno

    klmno New Member

    I think if he is under 18yo, the money has to go to his support or well-being or something for him. Investing it in a college fund, paying his med bills, school clothes or special activities (scouts), or even helping pay a small percentage of household bills- you could even help him use it to get a car for himself.. If he is over 18, I think he either gets it himself or you need to show that you have it in some fund (like an educational account) that can only be used by him but has some guidelines.
  8. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    The regulations covering dedicated accounts is 20 CFR ss 416.0640 and is available at the following link on the SSA website.

    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/416/416-0640.htm

    This includes an exact description of the ways funds from a dedicated account can be used.

    According to 20 CFR ss 416-0640.e.5 the limitations on use of the funds terminates when the child's eligibility for benefits terminates unless the conditions described in 416-0640 e.5.i,ii, or iii apply.

    The exception most likely to apply would be that the child turns 18 - in which case the rules still apply.

    Regarding the use of the dedicated account funds (should you find that you must continue to follow the SSA rules):

    Note that you can always apply to SSA for approval of a specific expense if you are uncertain about it or if it doesn't clearly fit these guidelines but is something that would benefit the child and is not for the purpose of month to month expenses.

    And it appears that this rule would not apply to using the money for special needs assistance, therapy, monthly expenses related to buying or maintaining medical equipment or to provide educational and/or job training. So you could use the money for a tutor or private music lessons for example. Purchasing a musical instrument is likely to be allowed but you may want to get prior approval for this.

    The knowing misapplication of dedicated account funds will make the payee obligated to repay the amount. But if the payee used the fund inappropriately but SSA determines they did not do it deliberately then you are off the hook for repayment.

    We have a court-supervised special needs trust for our disabled gfg1. We are not his payee but the kind of special needs trust we have is covered by pretty much the same rules as apply to a dedicated account. Our attorney has told us that as long as we can show that 1)we spent the money in a way that benefited our son 2) that was related to or required due to his disability 3)we did not blatantly use the money for his monthly expenses - things his SSI check is specifically required to cover like food, clothing, housing - then we are OK.

    We have spent money on a rental car to take him to visit relatives because we can't take his wheelchair in our personal vehicle. We have spent money to take him and his friends and other family members out to eat or to the movies - justifying this as entertainment that he would not be able to afford on his SSI. We have spent money for personal care items and services that are not specifically prohibited by SSI and are not covered by Medicare like hair cuts, dental care, bath chairs, back up manual wheelchair, replacement medication that was stolen, cleaning supplies for his apartment, toiletry articles like toe nail clippers and shampoo, kitchen ware to stock his new apartments kitchen - all with the blessing of our attorney. She says that the main thing the court is going to want us to prove is that it was for our son's benefit - not OURS.

    We are also ultimately accountable to SSA and Medicare but since it is a court supervised trust our expenditures are actually scrutinized at a level you are unlikely to get from SSA on a regular basis. We must provide a detailed list of expenditures, income, balance etc every two years and submit it for court approval.

    I can't guarantee that SSA will apply the exact same standard but I think you could make a case for them to do so given similar uses of the dedicated account funds.

    You can always call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 am and 7 pm EST or you can submit your question online at the SSA website.
  9. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    Nate got alot because the first time I applied they denied it...then I found out they almost always do and people need to apply so. So he had I think like two years of back pay. Anyway I am trying to call SSA and just ask about this...but the phone is constantly busy! ugh...

    Glad you were able to get a car and stuff..that is great! :)
  10. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    Thanks..its still confusing to me whether this account is still to be used a certain way or not since he is no longer disabled. Still trying to get through to them...all I get is a busy singal. I am trying to call the local office but might try this instead. Thanks for your help.
  11. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    This is an excerpt from the regulations I linked for you. I have bolded the section that appears to apply to your situation.

    5) The restrictions described in this section and the income and resource exclusions described in §§416.1124(c)(20) and 416.1247 shall continue to apply until all funds in the dedicated account are depleted or eligibility for benefits terminates, whichever comes first.

    Unless he is temporarily ineligible for benefits (usually this would be due to an unexpected influx of income that pushes him temporarily over the income or asset limit) then the money is yours/his to spend as you will.

    Since you list your child as being only 13 the exception that applies if he has turned 18 does not apply.
  12. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    Thanks...but I talked to this SSA lady and she said the money still has to be spend only on his needs, though its not as restricted...like only medical or educational. She said I could buy him clothes with it but have to still keep the receipts and all to prove what I bought for him....I so hate that cause it makes me feel like they think I am a thief and going to buy me fur coats or something..ugh.

    To be blunt here...I have 54 dollars to last us for food and gas until I get my disability check on the 3rd of Nov. I was too embarrassed to ask her if I could buy food using it. And gas to take him to school and youth group...dr. etc...

    When I asked about the restrictions still being there she went..'its HIS money to be spent on Him!"...like I had bad intentions in calling. See this is why I hate calling these people...they treat me like some criminal trying to get away with something...:(

    but I am pretty sure my son needs food...
  13. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    Ok I talked to the local office and they said their are no restrictions but of course the money is for him..which I understand that. Its been drilled into my head very well...

    Normally and surprisingly...and I image with God's help, we have actually done ok month to month since he lost his checks...what messed me up the last two months in coming up so short on money is having to use my credit card for dental work...:( (no dental insurance) And him needing extra things. If we were this poor every month I wouldn't have internet for sure! I have been trying to find part time work..I have a bad back so can't do the work I used too..but there are just no jobs and I haven't worked so long I have no work references for them to call so no one wants to hire me. I have been doing odd jobs...cleaning fish tanks...helping people with their computers...going to try to sell my art work online. I want to work..just finding what I can do is another story.

    Oh he said they won't check to make sure I spend the on him..but thought it wise I keep the receipts in case he ended up on disability again ...God forbid! I never want to go back to how he used to be...not enough money in the world to do that again!

    Going to eat lunch then take my son shopping for some winter clothes he so badly needs!

    Anyway thanks for your help!
  14. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Glad you followed up with the local office. That's why I quoted you the regulations - the SSA people on the main line who answer the phone may or may not give you the correct answer when it's a fairly obscure or unusual question.

    Have a great lunch and get him what he needs.

    Hugs
  15. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    Julie,
    I'm glad you got that all worked out. I tried posting earlier, but somehow it got lost out in cyber space apparently. I am so happy to hear that Nate is doing so much better. I just got back online after being gone for a few years and the first person I tried to find here was you. I have thought of you and Nate often through the years. You may remember me as Lisa or monsterchildmom from way back when.
  16. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    Thanks again for your help...:) Like I said, I get really upset and nervous talking to these people and have avoided doing so for a year and a half..:( That is how bad they make me feel. Plus I would have rather not used that money in his account unless I really, really needed too. Was kind of hoping to save it for him for a car one day. Which he knows..;)

    But like I said, this last couple of months have been very difficult plus there is so much he wants that I just haven't been able to get for him..makes me feel terrible too. Its just the two of us..his dad is in prison and has been for years so no child support. (we are divorced). Trying to live on disability is tough for sure! Without his grandparents helping so much over the years we would be in alot worse shape...so we are blessed with them too.

    Anyway I explained things to him and took him to the bank with me so he could see first hand how it all works, then we went shopping and he picked out some brand name clothes that are popular with the kids in school now so he really enjoyed that. :) Then he bought us Arby's for supper..lol. First time my son ever bought me supper!

    He really is a good kid...after being a true gfg for many years. I actually joined this board when he was just three. I had a bigger post count on here but once when they changed owners they lost everyone's post counts. I rarely post on here anymore...don't need too (thank God for that!)
  17. moonglow

    moonglow New Member

    Oh yea..you are going to make me feel old..! ha! How are things going with you all? I pop in here once in awhile. I tried to get on sometime back but the board said it didn't know who moonglow was..:( I thought I was going to have to sign up under another name and start all over again. I am glad someone on here remembers us. :) You and Janet so far are the only ones I have seen I know but I am sure there are others.

    Nate is making alot of milestones here..got off of disability like I said..now dismissed from needing and IEP at school and no longer considered learning disabled. But he still see a therapist and a pdc for his meds...but that is all going well too. Won't say he perfect...but what kid is?

    He has been home sick all week with the H1N1 to btw..:( I thought he just had a cold he got last weekend but I knew this and strep were going around so took him to the dr and they tested him for it and the next day let me know he had 'a' type of flu..they can't really know for a 100% sure its that without sending it off to get tested, but I think half the kids in town have it. So anyway got him tamiflu and the dr said he can't go back to school until Monday so he has been home all week and yes driving me half nutty. While the clondine helps with his ADHD that is just something that no med is going to completely stop as I image you know. But with him being sick the hyperness is off and on..lol.

    Anyway he is doing much better now..not coughing nearly as much though when he does it still sound bad.

    I guess I gabbed enough..how are you doing?

    Julie
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