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  1. #1
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    My husband died a few years ago. My child (<18 yrs old) and I currently receive social security survivor benefits, and I am his representative payee.

    I paid off the house mortgage using my own savings to save interests. Now I wonder it is legal for me to charge my child a monthly rent from his social security money.

    By doing so, there will be less money shown as "saved" on the representative payee report.

    Is there any regulation on SSA website regarding this?

    **********************
    I am talking about charging rent from a minor. It may sound bad. However, look it this way. If I had not paid off the mtg from my savings, then it is fair to share the mtg with him, since I provided a shelter. The SSA will say nothing seeing I divide the mtg payment between him and me.

    The main reason is that I don't want to show a big sum of money saved on the RP report when he turns 18, I heard SSA will require the money back. Some people may say SSA will re-issue the money to him, but I doubt how wise a 18 year old is with money if a large sum of money is given to him when he turns 18. I want to use the saved money for his college.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    Are you talking about trying to charge rent to your dependent, minor child, or are you asking whether you can start charging rent when your child turns 18?

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    It may sound bad.
    "May sound"? No, it's actually bad.

    You are legally responsible for supporting your son until he turns 18. The SSA will not look kindly upon you trying to collect rent from a minor child.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  4. #4
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    Charging a minor rent certainly fulfills the Rep Payee's charge to provide food and shelter, however, if you were to charge rent, you would need to declare income on your taxes as a landlord. I'm sure you see what a slippery slope this becomes. I suggest instead, you make a simple spreadsheet listing all household expenses such as utilities, food etc, allocate a proportionate share against the benefits, keeping the chart as documentation. Don't forget clothing and gasoline used for the child, or allocate mileage based on gov't standards. The balance you can give as a weekly allowance.
    Teach a man to fish, you feed an entire village. Give a man a fish, the village starts demanding free fish. Then they have three children who all start families and demand free fish as their right.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Florida
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    1,941

    Default Re: Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    You may spend all of the SS benefit you receive for your child on the child's support. Support consists of expenses assosicate with housing (utilities, taxes, rent or mortgate interest, repairs, maintenance, etc.), clothing, food, education, medical care, entertainment and travel, etc. You are not required to save that money. That defeats the purpose for which the survivor benefit is intended, namely for the support of the child. However, you must actually spend the money on the child's support or save it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    28,081

    Default Re: Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    I paid off the house mortgage using my own savings to save interests.
    so you paid off your house with your money. Great. You should be applauded for that, especially given today's financial issues.



    but you need to realize: you paid off your house. That is what people do. Whether your child is receiving SSA money or not, it is your obligation to provide for them and that includes a roof over their head, for free. You don't get to charge your child rent.


    What you appear to be attempting to do is scam SSA and repay yourself. It really looks bad. If true, it really is appalling.

    there are plenty of things you can spend the money on your child though. You can eat ham instead of spam. You can eat beef sold at the butcher instead of that with an Alpo label on it. You can use the money to essentially improve your standard of living but you cannot use it to pad your savings account.

  7. #7
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    Florida
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    Default Re: Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    I've yet to see anybody get rich off of social security. And yes, a child's social security benefit can be spent to provide them with housing. What ever the child's fractional share of the household expenses happens to be can be spent from the social security benefit on those household expenses. Every household has rent or property taxes, maintenance, utilities, etc. I've never seen a case where there was much of anything left over after food, household expenses, medical, education, clothing, recreation, entertainment, etc. was taken into account.

    Now, for income tax support purposes, the fair rental value of the home that is paid for can certainly be considered in determining support. It may in fact be the case that the fair rental value of the home can be considered when allocating SS benefit payments as support for a child. I've not seen anything authoritative posted here, just opinions and insults. That is the real question of the OP.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Default Re: Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    It may in fact be the case that the fair rental value of the home can be considered when allocating SS benefit payments as support for a child.
    That's not what s/he's asking.

    S/he's asking if s/he can take a certain amount, tell the SSA that it's "rent", but put it in a savings account, in addition to whatever else s/he's saving, so that less money is documented as "saved" on the representative payee report.

    Let me explain how it works from the perspective of someone who once had survivor benefits:

    Your representative payee must keep track of how much of your benefit they spend on your support and how much they put in the bank for you. It's expected that they spend ALL of it on your support, but saving some is not prohibited. They must submit a report detailing where the money went - $X for groceries, $X for school clothes, $X for prom bids, $X for a percentage of the house payment and utility bills (this is a very small amount), $X was left over and went into the savings account.

    When the recipient turns 18, the representative payee is required to send whatever they have reported as saved back to the SSA, then the SSA cuts the recipient a check.

    What xjz proposes is charging her dependent, minor child actual rent (which you can't do anyway) to increase the amount that is shown as spent on the child's support, so that less is reported as saved to the SSA, even though s/he intends to put the money marked as "rent" into a savings account. That's...well, that's fraud. You can't do that with survivor benefits.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    Quote Quoting LawResearcherMissy
    View Post
    That's...well, that's fraud. You can't do that with survivor benefits.
    No wonder the country and so many families in this country are in trouble now...we encourage spending, and discourage saving, don't we?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting Bubba Jimmy
    View Post

    It may in fact be the case that the fair rental value of the home can be considered when allocating SS benefit payments as support for a child.
    Thank you for your positive reply. Now I am confused. Do you mean that part of my child's SS benefit payments can be allocated as fair rental value of the home on paper (representative payee report)?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can I Charge a Rent from My Child Who Receives Social Security Benefits

    Who's discouraging saving? From what you have written the issue appears to be that you want to save your child's survivor benefits for yourself, not for him. I suspect that everybody here would actively encourage you to save your child's benefits for his benefit.

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