Working With Great General Attorneys

Back Pay For Minors: What To Know

by Maurice Moore

Minor-aged children may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This Social Security program provides a monthly payment to qualified adults and children. Since minors are considered a vulnerable population, special rules are in place to protect them and their benefit payment. Those protections extend to their back pay benefit too. To find out more, read on.

Back Pay and SSI

Several Social Security Administration (SSA) programs are in place to help those unable to work due to medical or mental issues. Once you apply for benefits, though, the wait is long. Meantime, benefits accrue and add up. Once an applicant is approved, those back benefits are paid in a single lump-sum payment. In many cases, the back pay sum can be quite large. While adults are mostly free to spend the back pay on anything they like, back pay for children is different.

Representative Payees

Minor-aged children must designate an adult to oversee the payment of both the back pay and the regular monthly payments. That person might be a relative or a court-appointed individual or agency. The SSA directs how the back pay (and the regular monthly benefit payments to follow) is used. The below list demonstrates how the SSA expects the representative payee to use back pay for minors:

  • Medical needs.
  • Educational expenses.
  • Care-giving expenditures.
  • Equipment needed for the child, like assistive devices and modification.
  • Job skill training.
  • Mental health or rehabilitation therapy.
  • With special approval from the SSA, back pay can also be used for daily needs like food and shelter.

Bank Accounts and Back Pay

In an effort to account for back pay, the SSA requires the representative payee to set up a special account at the bank for the deposit of the one-time payment. In some cases, only one account is needed, with the back pay account becoming the account for regular monthly payments. If the back pay amount is over a certain sum, however, a new account must be set up for regular payments. The back pay only account exists only to deal with back pay and may be closed once the account is empty. The representative payee is also responsible for reporting to the SSA when the back pay account is used for any purchase. Good record-keeping is a must.

Many times, SSI benefits are denied, and the representative payee never gets to the point of setting up a bank account. If your child has been turned down for benefits, you are entitled to ask for an appeal hearing on their behalf. This is a complex area and the stakes are high. Speak to a social security attorney about getting your child the benefits they need at the appeal hearing.