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Christopher B, Esq
Christopher B, Esq, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2983
Experience:  Litigation Attorney with education focus on estate planning and tax
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My dad passed away in 1991. He had a son by a different woman

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My dad passed away in 1991. He had a son by a different woman than my mother.
The child is receiving half of my mothers social security widow fund. My mom signed over the fund not fully understanding is there away to reverse it. The child is now 21 and still recieving the monies because he claims he is disabled. My mom is 75 and needs the money herself.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.
My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.
Social Security uses the deceased worker’s basic benefit amount and calculates what percentage survivors are entitled to. The percentage depends on the survivors’ ages and relationship to the worker. If the person who died was receiving reduced benefits, your survivor’s benefit is based on that amount. Here are the most typical situations:
(1) A widow or widower, at full retirement age or older, generally receives 100 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount;
(2) A widow or widower, age 60 or older, but under full retirement age, receives about 71-99 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount; or
(3) A widow or widower, any age, with a child younger than age 16, receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.
(4) Children receive 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.
There is a limit to the benefits that can be paid to your mother and other family members each month. The limit varies, but is generally between 150 and 180 percent of the deceased’s benefit amount. If the sum of the benefits payable to the family members is greater than this limit, the benefits will be reduced proportionately.
If your mother disagrees with a decision made on her claim, she can appeal it. For an explanation of the steps your mother can take, ask for The Appeals Process (Publication No. 05-10041). Your mother can handle her own appeal with free help from Social Security or she can choose to have a representative help her. For more information about selecting a representative, ask for Your Right To Representation (Publication No. 05-10075). Although appeals are normally limited to 60 days after the claim has been decided so this process probably wouldn't fit under her circumstances (I'm assuming her claim was filed around 1991 at the death of your father).
If your mother is receiving widow's benefits, remember that she can switch to her own retirement benefit as early as age 62. This assumes that your mother is eligible and her retirement rate is higher than her widows' rate. In many cases, a widow can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate at age 65. The rules are complicated and vary depending on the situation, so she should talk to a one of the representatives from the Social Security Administration about the options available to her.
Social security survivor's benefits are available to widows as well as children so it is not as if she signed away her benefit to this other child. Like I said previously you have 60 days to appeal the decision so if that has passed then your mother cannot go back and change that original decision although there are some options still available to her such as taking her full benefit for her personal social security benefit if she is eligible. If the above provided information does not rectify your mother's situation then you will need to contact a local ss/disability attorney as many times their personal contacts and relationships will be the overcoming factor in such cases although raising the family limit (150-180%) might be her only hope (remember the step son had a right to the survivor funds the same as your mother). The last issue that comes to mind is the validity of the disability claim of the step son. If this can be disputed then your mother's benefit could be increased based on the elimination of the payments to the step son.
Please let me know if you have any further questions or require any additional guidance. Please do not forget to positively rate my answer as this is the only way that I am compensated for my work.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.
I see you have viewed my answer. Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer as it is the only way I can be compensated for my work.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.
Any chance for a positive rating?