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Who is in charge of SSD family benefits paid out to a child?

Georgia residents have vastly different family circumstances from one another. The different family dynamics not only make each family unique, it can have a large impact when it comes to legal issues involving a person's family.

This is certainly the case when it comes to Social Security disability benefits. As explained previously in this blog, not only can a disabled person receive SSD benefits, the person's family members may also be entitled to receive certain benefits as well. However, the different family dynamics can change the treatment of these benefits.

For example, a child may be receiving family benefits in addition to the SSD benefits received by the parent. In a divorce, there can be questions of where these benefits go, particularly where the parent receiving SSD benefits does not have custody of the child.

Generally, when a person receives benefits on behalf of someone else, that person is known as a representative payee. Typically, a parent with legal custody of a child is the preferred payee instead of a parent without custody. However, there are exceptions to the general rule.

For instance, while the SSD benefit to the disabled person will not change, the benefit for the child may be made to the custodial parent. Once again, the custodial parent would be the child's representative payee, so the benefits would still be going to the child instead of the parent. Accordingly, the parent, as representative payee, would be responsible for using those benefits on behalf of the child, who is the eligible person.

Ultimately, each family is different. Individuals should have an understanding of how benefits are paid out given these differences.

Source: Grand Forks Herald, "Social Security Q & A: Explaining Social Security benefits for representative payees," Howard I. Kossover, April 18, 2015

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