Social Security offers a financial safety net for many people who may not be able to fully fend for themselves due to circumstances beyond their control or because they earned the right to it.
Sometimes, this form of help comes in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). But to receive the SSI payments, you may need to look into banks with perks that include dedicated accounts.
How SSI and SSDI Works
SSI can be accessed by the blind, elderly, people with disabilities and those with minimal income. The aid comes in the form of cash for basic needs. And because the insurance benefits are meant for the needy, if your resources or income exceed a specified amount, you will receive reduced benefits or no benefits at all. It is sometimes confused with SSDI.
The latter, SSDI, is accessible to those who worked long enough while paying Social Security taxes. The insurance is available to the payer and specified family members who meet the criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Alternatively, your family members must be survivors or dependents; they include your spouse and children.
When you have a disabled underage member of your family who qualifies for SSI, you need to open an account to handle their Social Security funds. That is where dedicated accounts come in.
How a Dedicated Account Works
Most financial institutions offer at least two types of bank accounts: checking and savings accounts. The former is meant to enable regular transactions, while the latter is meant to encourage people to save.
Many banks also offer a money market account, which is an interest-bearing deposit account that combines some of the features of checking and savings accounts. For example, you can write checks from them. At the same time, if you leave your money alone, it will grow over a long period.
How Dedicated Accounts Work
Dedicated accounts are those that are opened for the representatives of disabled children who are owed large past-due SSI payment amounts covering at least six months. The bank account title must attribute the ownership of the account to the child that receives the SSI payments. However, you can decide whether to make it a savings, checking or money market fund.
Where the Dedicated Account Funds Can Go
The SSI payments must be kept separate from other benefit payments that are paid monthly, and you can only use them to cater to expenses that arise directly as a result of the child’s disability.
These expenses can be medical or related to the education or skills training of the child. Also, you may be permitted to use the monies to pay for your disabled child’s in-home nursing care, legal fees incurred during the claiming of benefits on behalf of the child with disabilities and rehabilitation.
In addition, you can spend the dedicated account funds on special equipment the child may require and housing modifications to make them more comfortable. However, you cannot use the funds for your own needs or the needs of other children in the family. It is neither your money nor theirs.
Read More: How to Calculate SSI Benefits
How to Open an SSI Dedicated Account
Below is the procedure for opening an SSI dedicated account.
- Go to your local bank and ask to open a savings, checking or money market account.
- Choose a bank account title that attributes the account to the child with disabilities that you represent.
- Contact your local Social Security office. You can find the nearest one using their online office locator tool. Alternatively, reach out to them by phone via the number: 1-800-772-1213. You can also access the SSA website online.
- Place a request for the direct deposit of your past-due benefits if you haven’t. If you have, update your banking information to reflect the dedicated account details by talking to the support representatives or logging in online to make the changes yourself. Ensure you provide all the relevant bank information for your child, including the bank account name, account number, routing number and account type.
Always take the time to verify the information you provide to ensure it is accurate. The last thing you want is to delay further the already past-due payments your child is supposed to get.
Read More: What Is a Direct Deposit and How to Set One up
- SSA.Gov: Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Eligibility Requirements -- 2021 Edition
- SSA.Gov: Disability Benefits | Family Benefits
- Corporate Finance Institute: Checking Accounts vs Savings Accounts
- Forbes: The Pros And Cons Of Money Market Accounts
- SSA.Gov: Dedicated Accounts
- SSA.Gov: Social Security Office Locator
- SSA.Gov: Direct Deposit
- The Social Security Administration requires that the representative payee for a disabled child must submit a yearly report showing how the money in a dedicated account is used. Bank statements, receipts, a two-year expense record and explanations of all expenses paid using both the dedicated account and the child's monthly disability payments.
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