Hi, my name is ***** ***** I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing SS law full time for 10+ years and look forward to assisting you.
With regard to your post:
"My mother deposited money into a svings account in her andmy daughter’s name without telling anyone. -------- Very generous, but would have been nice had she told you her plan, because she could have financially taken care of her granddaughter without having her lose SSI, had she done it properly.
"I couldn’t figure out why SSI cut my daughter off until I received a bank statement that had been sent to my mother, who passed away 1/2/15. I was now receiving her mail including the quarterly bank statements. SSI wanted my daughter to pay back $14,000. ------ Technically, they should be having her pay back the months of SSI received that she also had the savings account.
"The savings account had $14,354.60 in the first quarter of 2015. When I went to the bank to ask for when the money was deposited and by whom, it showed deposits 1) $10,000.00 on 2/5/13 online banking transfer from my mother’s account -------- OK, if the account was in your daughter's name, that was when she was "too wealthy" for SSI.
"2) 5/12/14 $350.00 also transferred from my mother’s on-line account 3) another on 5/23/15 for $1,400.00, which I assume is birthday checks. -------- So long as over $2000, your daughter remained ineligible.
"Christina, my daughter, doesn’t normally do banking except with direct supervision. I would never have allowed my mother to make these deposits, had I known nor would I have withheld this information from Social Security. I’m sure my mother had good intentions of providing for Christina, as she was her caregiver for the last few years of her life. --------- I understand! I also have to question your daughter's rights vis a vis, if she did not give permission and your mother wasw not her POA or legal guardian, being forced to accept a gift of money that she doesn't want. How can a bank allow/force a person to accept being on an account (which comes with obligations) without their permission/consent? Just a question, but one you may want to look into.
Are we liable to pay back $14,000? And if so, would that make Christina eligible for further SSI support or would we have to start the process all over? -------- Yes, unless you can reverse that ownership retroactively, so she didn't own those bank moneys legally, or somehow prove that she had NO ABILITY to have access to those moneys, being unaware, so in inequity she didn't HAVE those moneys (and that may be an issue of new impression that the SSA may or may not 'buy') - she was, on face value, not eligible since at least 2/5/2013. That can easily be over $14,000 in overpayment. Fortunately, you found out when you did, as your daughter has the money to pay it back and it will be like it never happened, although it is a shame. She should be able to get right back on SSI once the money is paid back. I am thinking that she may still be on SSI, BUT, her payments are going to SSA to pay that overpayment. This may explain why she only owes $14k left, and not over $16k, which 2+ years of overpayment would equal. I'd meet with the SSA to clarify that she will start getting her SSI asap once this is paid off, follow up with a confirming letter of what the SSA assured you of (date/time/who said) mailed certified rrr. Then, you can pay the overpayment if it assures you her benefits will start coming in again.
And, you can keep up your appeal if you wish, to see how it pans out - worst case, it confirms you owe. Best case, it comes up with a new fangled interpretation that money can't be counted if the claimant has no actual access to it, due to secrecy. Probably won't work, but maybe.
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Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.
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