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Child in Care

These days, we often hear from certain politicians and media that too many people are receiving Social Security benefits. Yet a recent study showed that in one specific area involving monies to parents with a child under 16, SSA wrongfully terminated benefits to rightfully eligible mothers and fathers.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) periodically audits the Social Security Administration to determine how many people are incorrectly paid. One of the OIG’s recent reports, published February 24, 2017, looked at how often the Social Security Administration improperly terminated millions of dollars to an estimated 3,534 people eligible for “Child in Care” benefits to Mother/Father or Spousal Survivor’s beneficiaries. As this report shows, the vast majority of errors made by Social Security Administration caused people to receive a lower, incorrect benefit or no benefit at all.  

Generally, if an individual passes away with minor children, the SSA can pay a benefit for any minor children of that individual and a second benefit to the parent who cares for that individual’s child who is under age 16.  Usually, both benefits are paid to the parent: the child’s benefit is paid to the parent as the “Representative Payee” and the Child-in-Care benefit is paid directly to the parent.  The Child-in-Care benefit ends when the child turns 16 or that parent is no longer responsible for the child’s welfare.

Looking at a random sample of Child-in-Care beneficiaries who were also the Representative Payee for the child’s benefit, the audit found that 61% of Child-in-Care benefits were stopped incorrectly and over half of those beneficiaries were paid too little.  The SSA correctly ended benefits for only 39% of beneficiaries.   

To view the full report, visit

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