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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: 482
Experience:  Former IRS Revenue Agent
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My husband passed away 7/8/15 and ssi has Ben taking money

Customer Question

Good morning my name is***** my husband passed away 7/8/15 and ssi has Ben taking money away that my husband owe . Can you please help me I need your help thank you
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Dr. Fiona Chen replied 11 months ago.

Dear Customer,

There has been five hours since you posted. So, I am not sure that you still want to talk on the phone.

Also, we may be able to answer the question just by the writing and post like this.

1) If you are concerned about money taken away from your husband's social security retirement income, when he passed away, it is a new process now. Your money should not be taken away for his debt.

2) If you want to find out why before he passed away, the government has taken money away from his payment received. My suggestion is for you, if possible, to walk into a social security administration office to talk with someone face to face. This probably is a step you should be doing right now, too.

3) There are several possibilities.

a) When a person on disability for two years, the person then might have qualified for medicaid. Medicaid's monthly premium will have been taken out. Usually, this is a surprise for the disabled because s/he has been getting the disability payment for years and months, and suddenly the payment reduced.

b) If the person owes any governmental money, say, for example, income tax, even past child support, the Federal Finance Center will collect from the social security income up to 12 to 15% to pay the debt owed to the other governments. This can be sometimes surprising, too, because sometimes, we don't remember that at all. We have to call the social security, then, they ask us to call federal finance center, then, the finance center tell me which government got the money. Then, when we call that government entity say IRS or a state treasury department, we finally start to go some place on why, when, and how much we owe. Sometimes, it is a misunderstanding. Then, we have to prove that we don't owe the money. When we deal with government, things take time.

c) Because he recently passed away, the SSA could be just adjusting his last month pay because it was not a full month of 30 or 31 days.

4) My suggestion for you now is to find a social security administration local office and go in, say early in one morning, not Monday, to talk with someone. Bring every identification, notices, etc. you can think of to start with. Be prepared to wait for two hours or more. If you can come out in four hours and get some of your questions answered, be happy. Personally, if necessary, I call the SSA. But if it is important, I don't want to take a chance for miscommunication and I want a printed output to clear see the numbers, I walk into their office. They are polite and relatively efficient. Don't do anything on computer to try to establish accounts, etc. We get questions from customers to ask why they no longer can sign into their account several times a week.

5) The most important thing for you is to find out whether you are qualified for any assistance, any social security income as a widow of your deceased husband. This is the most important thing. You may want to find out how much and when you can get the SS income and whether your age qualifies you now.


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