In 1989, my husband's father was terminally ill. they requested survivor benefits for my husband for he was 14YO. It was granted, but then, it was rescinded after his father passed and his parents were divorced. His mom was told that the payments to the son had to be returned and she did nothing. We are now close to turning 45 and wondering if any of the payments that are supposedly owed back to the SSA will deduce his future earnings when we retire. i am just as confused as to the whole story since his mother never took care of it when he was a minor or perhaps his father's estate. in MO, didnt pay it back. there is no proof or documentation, everything is just from word of mouth and facts lost thru time. is there a way to look up this information online or how are these things normally progress when the SSA in the 1990's want the money back from a minor? How do we get proof he owes/ dont owe anything?
I'm not sure what may have occurred based on your description of events, but Social Security generally has reliable records of what benefits were paid, and to whom they were paid. If they are saying that your husband received benefits that he wasn't entitled to, or if his mother received incorrect payments on his behalf, it would be considered as an overpayment.
There is essentially no time limit for recovery of an overpayment by Social Security, but your husband would probably have appeal rights (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10041.pdf). Or, he could file for a waiver (i.e. forgiveness) of the overpayment if he is a) without fault in causing the overpayment, and b) he cannot afford to repay the overpayment or recovery of the overpayment would be against equity and good conscience (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.19/handbook-1914.html). If your husband was a minor child when the overpayment occurred, he would almost certainly be without fault, but he would still need to meet one of the other requirements in order for the overpayment to be waived.