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When is a dedicated account needed with SSI benefits?

When a child in New Jersey meets the requirements to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it is important to ensure that the SSI-related benefits provided for the child go toward the care of the child. One way this is done is through a dedicated account.

If a child is eligible to receive a significant sum for past due SSI benefits, there will be a representative payee who will open the dedicated account, which usually covers more than six months of back payments. These payments are deposited right into the account.

There are requirements that a dedicated account must adhere to. The account is required to be separate from an account that is used for the recipient to get his or her monthly payments. It can be a savings, checking or money market account. There cannot be commingling of funds apart from past due SSI. The account cannot be in trusts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds or certificates of deposit. It must be on the title that the child is the owner of the funds.

There are restrictions on how these funds will be used. The money in this account can only be used to provide medical treatment or education and job training. If the child needs them, the following can be paid with the dedicated account: assistance in fulfilling personal needs with, as an example, a nurse's aide; equipment to help the child; modification of a residence; rehabilitative care and therapy; or other items that the Social Security Administration approves. These payments cannot be used for clothes, food or living expenses. The SSI benefit is for that. The SSA keeps track of this via a report the representative payee completes.

The dedicated account is one example of a consideration to keep in mind when a child is getting SSI benefits. It shows how obtaining and maintaining SSI benefits can be complex. Those who have children that are in need of SSI benefits or who currently receive them will want to make sure they understand the rules surrounding SSI benefits so they are able to obtain and maintain the benefits their child needs.

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