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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Misuse of SSI Funds of a Disabled Adult

    My brother-in-law is currently 20 years old and lives with his foster parents. He still resides with them as a legal dependent after they went to court and had him remanded to their custody until he turns 21 in June of next year. Ever since he turned 18, his foster mother has been charging ever increasing amounts of rent in accordance with how much he gets from his SSI benefits. It is my understanding that a parent may not charge a legal dependent rent for any reason. However, they are allowed to allocate a percentage of his SSI benefits to the household utilities. They own the house outright, so there is no rent and only property taxes. Luxury amenities, such as internet and satellite, are not required to live and therefore are exempt from being covered. She is also required to file a separate form with her taxes to identify her as a landlord of the house in which he resides. She has never done this and instead claims him as a dependent on her income taxes.(double dipping?) She takes the funds from his account without even consulting him or confirming that she has the authorization to do so. She also allocates how much money he gets from his part time job and pulls from that account as well.

    So, our questions are these:

    Can she legally take rent from him without his consent or approval without the need to actually do so?

    Can she legally dip into his earning from work without his approval?

    Is she allowed to claim him on her taxes even though she charges him rent?

    Depending on the legality of he actions, where would we go to get the ball rolling on stopping her and getting him reimbursed?

    Please keep in mind that all of these speculations on my part are exactly that and come from a very short and hurried period of research in the last two days. So some, if not most, of my information may be wrong or misconstrued in some way, shape or form.

    Also keep in mind that this is not the first time that she has taken advantage of children with similar situations and conditions and that she will continue to do so if given the chance. We'd like to put a stop to her misusing children in this way and prevent any children from suffering the physical abuse that my brother-in-law has suffered in the past as well. That's right! She's got a really nasty temper to her and I have watched, intervened and reported the physical abuse she delivers to the police and they have done nothing about it because she claims that he made it up or that he started it. Regardless of my testimony to them, they will not take him out of there or do anything to her.

    We thank anyone who is able to give us some clarification in this matter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: My Brother-In-Laws SSI is Being Used Inappropriately

    I suggest contact your area Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation division. You can file a complaint with them. They may or may not look into it, but can also send it to the civil side for an audit of her tax filings.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Misuse of SSI Funds of a Disabled Adult

    If they have been given legal custody because of a mental/physical issue, they are permitted as Rep Payee to manage his money in a way that enables him to meet his needs. If he is in an age 21 legal majority state he can possibly get the benefits paid to himself directly. Presumably, prior to 18 they were receiving pay from the state to care for him and are using the SSI to replace that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: Misuse of SSI Funds of a Disabled Adult

    SSI recipients who don't pay their share of household expenses get less money from SSI. Some SSI recipients have room rental agreements with the people they live with. It is a subtle difference.

    I always thought that anyone who claimed to be renting a room should be claiming rental income on their tax return, but I doubt that most do. Also, in order for her to validly claim him as a dependent, she would have to be providing 1/2 of his 'support' from her own income. That can be broadly applied, but that is an IRS question, not an SSA question.

    If an SSI recipient is a roommate of another person, it is permissible for the SSI recipient to pay for cable TV even though it is not a necessity for shelter. I assume he watches TV sometimes. All depends upon what he can afford to pay for after the necessities are paid.

    If he doesn't like her as his payee, then he can get someone else (preferably employed and not a felon) apply as his payee. There are also payee agencies that will do it for a fee. However, the foster mother/former payee may not like that arrangement and may ask him to live elsewhere. He could also open a new bank account for his payroll checks that she does not have access to although she is required to report the wages to SSI on a monthly basis so she does need to know the amounts. And perhaps it is time for him to move out. Perhaps you should file as his payee and move him into your home. If that is what he wants.

    I don't think you can prove misuse because you disagree with the amount of rent she charges. But you could take action to stop her as payee, as long as he agrees with you.

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