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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Survivors Benefits

    Hi, I am wondering what, if anything I can do here.

    My father died when I was about 2, in 1983. He served in the army ( I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not.) Anyway, as I am 28 now, I was not aware that I was entitled to recieve any kind of social security benefit until recently and don't know if I am entitled to recieve any back payments or anything like that. I guess it would be about 16 years worth of back payments.

    Is there anything I can do?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Survivors Benefits

    How do you know that benefits were not paid to your custodian? Checks are not issued to two year olds or 17 year olds because they are children. Who took care of you? Did you ask them? You can call the Social Security Administration and give your own Social Security number to see if any benefits were paid for you. It would be better if you had your father's Social Security number, however. If a claim was filed under his number, the record SHOULD have the SSN's of all the children who also filed claims cross referenced, but we are talking about 1983 and the system is more advanced now than it was.

    Do you know how many years your father worked before he passed away? If he only did a 2 year stint in the army, he may not have had enough credits anyway.

    And, unless a claim was filed sometime before you turned 18, it is highly unlikely that you are due any money at all since retroactivity of claims is limited. Can't remember the exact rule on children's claims, but one year before filing is generally the most and sometimes there is no retroactivity.

    Filing a claim, even to be denied, can protect your rights to benefits, but only as of the date the claim is filed, not 26 years ago.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Survivors Benefits

    I know that they weren't paid to my mother, and I know that no "hold" was put on any kind of claim in for my benefit.

    Now, long short of it, I was the result of an affair between my mother and father, who was married at the time with two children and one on the way. I do not know if these children were paid benefits or not.

    I do not know how many years my father worked but do know that he was an Army Ranger in Vietnam, probably more than a two year stint.

    I don't know a whole lot of information, I have my birth cert. with his name on it, and his death cert. That is about all.

    I have contacted the SSA, and they say there was nothing I could do since no one put a "hold" on any said money.

    BUt I was more wondering if, with the help of a SS Lawyer if there was, in fact, something I could do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Survivors Benefits

    So, when he died, his legal widow may have filed for and received benefits for his three children until they turned 18. There is a family maximum paid on children's benefits and it is divided among the entitled children. Generally, if another child is either born or later proven to be the legal child of the deceased, the family maximum is then divided again. In this case it would be divided into four vs three. But for the years before entitlement, if the family maximum was paid to the other three children, it does not get retroactively re-divided and create an overpayment for the other three children. Once the pie is eaten, you can't can't get your share by forcing the others to upchuck what they already ate.

    There may be some obscure exceptions that I don't know.

    Not sure what the rules were in 1981 about putting a father's name on a birth certificate, but did he ever acknowledge that you were his son? Not sure the name on the birth certificate is actually sufficient proof since they weren't married.

    You have not just a hurdle, but a mountain range to climb and you may never get what you are seeking.

    How about making friends with your half-siblings?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    75,865

    Default Re: Survivors Benefits

    The simple answer is that, ordinarily, Social Security survivor benefits start from the date of a minor dependent's application. See 42 USC § 402(d)(1)(c). You're now too old to qualify, and I don't see anything under the facts that you've given that would allow you to avoid that provision.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Survivors Benefits

    Yes, I was ackowledged as his daughter, I mean, he did sign my birth certificate, so I assume that is acknowledgment enough.

    So basically, I'm SOL. My mom didn't claim it for me and I'm now too old.

    Alright, well....

    Thanks for all your help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Survivors Benefits

    Well, you don't even know if he had enough credits for any of his children to be entitled and you don't know if he was a low income worker so there was only a small amount payable to the children and if your mother had filed the claim and got the money, she may very well have spent it on food and shelter for you and her and not have put it in a bank account for you to have now.

    I still think trying to make contact with your half-siblings is the best choice for your future. You could learn more about the man who is your father and his parents, his qualities and well as his weaknesses. And maybe see some of you in these siblings. Family connections are probably best for you in the long term, even though a chunk of money sounds good now.

    If you do connect with them, I'd like to hear about it.

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