Should I Have Received Benefits From My Husband's Record Before We Divorced?

Category: 
Feb 27 2019 - 11:04am

Larry,

My husband at the time he started to collect SS Disability while we were married.... since then we have gotten divorced but have 2 children. I have currently found out that since he has been disabled that he gets $900.00 a month for our twin children (he never told me about this payment). Should i have gotten something too before we were divorced? Issue is not that both my children are needing braces for there teeth & the ex is stating that i need to reimburse him for 1/2 of the total, when my reply was for him to withdrawl from all of the money hes been getting for my children for the last 9 years. Is this something that should be paid by those funds? What are the funds my children are receiving from SS on his behalf supposed to be used for on my children?
Thank you for your time,
Teresa

Hi Teresa,

If you were married to your husband and had minor children of his in your care who were eligible for child's benefits on their father's record, then yes you could have potentially qualified for child in care spousal benefits. But, your eligibility for such benefits would have ended when you divorced. You can't claim spousal benefits on the record of a disabled worker for more than 12 months retroactively, so if your divorce has been final for at least a year it would almost certainly be too late to claim any back pay. However, if you were married for at least 10 years and you are at least age 62, you could potentially file for divorced spousal benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.03/handbook-0311.html).

If you would have filed for child in care spousal benefits, though, any payments you received would have reduced the amount payable to your children dollar for dollar. That's because of the family maximum benefit (FMB) provision that limits the total monthly amount that can be paid to family members on a worker's Social Security account.

If your children are or were entitled to benefits on their father's record and their benefits are or were being paid to a representative payee, the payee is required to use the children's benefits for their needs (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10076.pdf). Any excess funds are required to be saved for their future needs. The person normally appointed as representative payee for minor children is a parent with custody of the child since they are in the best position to determine the child's needs. If your ex-husband was receiving your children's benefits as their representative payee and he did not use their benefits for their needs, then you should report that fact to Social Security so that they can investigate whether or not he misused the children's benefits. If they determine that he misused benefits, he would be required to repay the misused funds which would in turn be reimbursed to the children (or to their new payee if they are still minors).

Best, Jerry