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Minor child benefits in divorce situation.

I am a single 62-year-old male who has received his first two retirement checks. I am also the divorced father of two minor children. In October of last year when I applied for my benefits I attempted to apply for the children's benefits at the same time. My ex-wife and I have joint legal and physical custody. There is no child support.

When I applied for their benefits, the Social Security employee kept insisting there had to be a primary custodian. There is not. If anything, I spend more actual time with the kids because I have not worked in the last few years. Anyway, the employee finally asked me what address was on the school records, is if that has anything to do with care or custody of the children! I said never mind as our discussion was getting heated and left planning on returning on a better day.

Well, somehow my ex-wife got wind that I was applying for retirement benefits, went to SSA behind my back and convinced them that she is the primary caregiver of our children. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just found out two days ago that the check was already being sent to my ex-wife. All of it. Frankly, and without much exaggeration, the money would be better spent by giving it to the homeless.

How can they do this without notifying me or informing me or giving me a chance to make my case? Doesn't take a genius to understand that, at the least, we should each receive half of the children's benefits if we each have them half the time. SSA let me apply for designated payee but we all know they're not to change anything unless forced to. What can I do?? This money will make all the difference in our household as I actually live on my retirement benefit. Thank you for your help.

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Sounds like your ex-wife is the "representative payee" for your children's benefits.

It also sounds like you have applied to become the representative payee, but you have not yet heard the decision on this.

The following links may be helpful for this :

I have never heard of the SSA "splitting" payment between representative payees, so I'm not sure if it's possible.

Benefits for minor children in cases like this are meant for the children. The SSA requires that the representative payee make an accounting of how the funds were used for the children.

If you can show that benefits meant for the children are not being spent for the children, your case for becoming the representative payee will become stronger.


Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration