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NCOA Sounds Alarm on Senior Benefits Going Unclaimed

In a post yesterday on, Ramsey Alwin (President and CEO of the National Council on Aging), expressed concern that “Every year, older adults leave…$16 billion in benefits on the table because they simply don’t know about them.” As an example, she noted, an estimated 69% of seniors eligible for SNAP benefits (formerly known as ‘food stamps’) do not take advantage of the program. She recommends that seniors take advantage of NCOA’s Benefits Check Up website to see if they are missing out on any other helpful opportunities. Her article, which includes a link to the check up site, can be read here…

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Comments On This Topic

  1. I just WANT to understand tht since my sons father and i split up and live in diffrent addresses’ my son is residing with me i am a stay at home mom im disabled also but I was just trig to see hw much my sons father gets for our 6yr old autistic son especially tht my son os with me 95% of the time. its nt about the money itsthe prioncible tht i am the parent tht takes care of blake . and it would not be rt if the father Ryan Ostrander is recieving money for our son and Blake and I are the ones on are own

    • Breonca,
      While I fully understand your frustration, Social Security’s rules are quite strict. If you and your husband are only separated and not legally divorced, you are still “married” for Social Security’s purposes. Since you have a disabled son he is apparently receiving SS disability benefits on his father’s lifetime work record (his father would need to be also collecting his own SS retirement benefit for that to happen). But since your son is only 6 years old, those disabled child benefits would be paid to your son’s designated Representative Payee, who was apparently designated as his father when your son’s application for disability benefits was processed. His father, however, is obligated to use his son’s disability payments for the boy’s benefit (which could include, for example, saving it for his son’s future). So, although your son is with you “95% of the time,” his SS benefit can only be paid to one person – his designated “Representative Payee.” While it might seem more principled that your son’s SS disability benefits are paid to you as his caretaker, for that to change your husband would need to request the Social Security administration make that change. If you and your husband cannot agree on that, then you may wish to seek legal assistance and remedy through the courts. And just so you know, if your son is receiving SS disability benefits from his father, the amount of those benefits are likely 50% of the SS amount your husband is/was entitled to at his SS full retirement age (FRA).
      Having said all of that, if you are not yet 62 years old, you may be eligible to collect early spousal benefits from your husband under Social Security’s “Child in Care” rule. This would entitle you to collect a spousal benefit from your husband even though you aren’t yet age-eligible to do so, because you are caring for your husband’s minor child. To investigate this, you will need to contact Social Security at 1.800.772.1213 and request an appointment to apply for “minor child in care spousal benefits” from your husband.
      Breonca, I hope this information is helpful, but if you need anything further please contact us at [email protected], or call us during normal EST business hours at 1.888.750.2622.
      Russell Gloor
      National Social Security Advisor
      The AMAC Foundation

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