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Ask Dr. Fiona Chen Your Own Question
Dr. Fiona Chen
Dr. Fiona Chen, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 355
Experience:  Former IRS Revenue Agent
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I have a 17 year old that I receive survivor benefits for.

Customer Question

I have a 17 year old that I receive survivor benefits for. She assaulted me 2 weeks ago, was arrested & went to juvenile detention for 6 days. The courts released her, but to stay w/her boyfriend & his family while the case is being heard in court and the matter is complete. She is asking for her portion of her survivor benefits. She is one of 3 minor children that receive these benefits. I have offered to buy groceries for them, while she's there, but she is set on getting those benefits directly to her. She's even given me a deadline to hand the money over, or she will go to our local office to get them herself. Just not sure where I stand on this, legally. She's only out of the home temporarily. Just until her case in court is finished & she is sentenced.
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Is there anything else important you think the retirement accountant should know?
Customer: They're not retirement. They are survivor benefits from her deceased father.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Dr. Fiona Chen replied 1 month ago.

Dear Customer,

You need to appear before the Court for the matter because she is minor. You cannot just give her the money. You need a court order on the matter. You may need to retain an attorney to represent you in court and on the matter, too.

If I were you, I would go to the State's attorney [the Plaintiff] on the case immediately to present the issue to the State. This is not an issue you can or need to decide. The judge will decide. I am thinking whoever gets her custody will get that survival benefit for her.

There are two aspects on the matter. You keep your survival benefit because you are still taking care of the other two minors. Her part of the survival benefit is hers. Make sure that you don't spend that part of the money. She is hostile. Why are you offering buy food for them? Don't make the situation more confrontational. Let her go to the SSA. If the SSA gives her the money, let her. However, it is very unlikely to happen.

Please feel free to follow up.

Regards,

Fiona

Fiona Chen, MPA, Ph.D., CPA, ABV, CFF, CITP

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