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I am a widow with a soon-to-be 18 year old son. He has been…

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Good morning, I am a widow...
Good morning,
I am a widow with a soon-to-be 18 year old son. He has been receiving survivor benefits for 2 1/2 years. Just got a letter from Social Security that "We have decided it would be best for him to have his checks sent directly to him." No problem with that.... but then goes on that "you may have saved some money for him....should return it to us unless you have already made other plans with us...."
I have saved a significant portion for his college education and am very concerned about this. Do you have any insight?
Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Social Security
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Answered in 1 hour by:
12/1/2017
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 4 months ago
emc011075
emc011075, Tax Adviser
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 3,595
Experience: Tax adviser IRS licensed Enrolled Agent and tax instructor
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Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you.

Since your son will adult at 18, you are no longer his guardian. So the social security is asking if all the benefits you received on his behalf were used for his support. If not, you are suppose to return it to SSA so the SSA can give it to him what he is entitled to. If the savings are in 529 college plans, make your son the beneficiary. If the savings are in your savings account, move it to his account. But keep in mind, you only have to return portion of his benefits you received that was not used to support him. Your savings for his education do not count.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Social security told me that I would have to turn the non-529 savings over to them and they would put it in his account. Is it possible for me to do that directly, not through them?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Can I add the non 529 into his 529 account?
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 4 months ago

Yes you can. But again, you only have to give him what was left from his benefits. For instance, he received $500 a month of his benefits and you used $450 of it for his food, clothing, portion of the utilities and such. You only have to give him $50 for that month.

There's a limit how much you can contribute to 529 annually. It depends on the plan. But if he will be going soon to college, it may not make much sense.

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Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 4 months ago

Contribution to child's college plan is not deductible on the federal return and in most states you can deduct between 4-5K annually. Depending on the plan and the state you live in, lifetime maximum contribution can range from 250K to 550K.

Any questions?

Generally, social security benefits barely covers child's expenses so there's not much left for savings. The clause in the social security letter is for special circumstances, when the child lives with somebody else, inherit a large investment or earns his/her own money.

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Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 4 months ago

Any questions? Is there anything else I can help you with today?

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