State: West Virginia
My mother has been in an abusive marriage for almost five years and has just recently become brave enough to try to escape. Five days ago, she had a phone appointment to apply for Social Security Disability as suggested by her doctor. She was told that she could not apply because she was the overseer of her husband's Social Security. She was not aware of this or what it meant and told the interviewer so. He said it meant that she was supposed to be managing the finances of her husband as he was incapable of doing so himself. He said that her name must be removed as the overseer because she could go to prison for perjury. My mother was very upset and made an appointment for this coming Monday to do so.
Today, she received about a twenty page letter at her mother's house (she is not allowed a mailbox key) informing her again that she might go to prison and also have to pay back the extra money her husband has received from apparantly pretending to be incapable of managing his own finances. She does not work and he has never allowed her to handle any of the household finances. He has informed her many times that if she ever uses the debit card, he will kill her. So of course, she doesn't. Many times, it means that she goes without food and other necessities.
Since she had no idea she was an overseer, or of her responsibilities as one, do you think my mom will end up in prison? She says he often makes her sign papers, but she never knowingly agreed to be an overseer. Her husband is extremely violent and emotionally abusive and she is afraid of what he might do to her if the Social Security people now question his capabilities and decrease his payments.
We have been working hard on her plan of escape, which has been difficult, as her husband does not work so he is always there and monitors everything closely. Now this, another obstacle... I am always worried about him hurting her, but thinking that she could go to prison has me terrified. My mother is 54 and is as law-abiding as they come. She has never been in any sort of trouble - even in her youth. I have tried to reassure her that it will be okay, but I need some reassurance myself. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.