Q: I have been living and working in the country for 15 years in the same company with a made-up social security number. I recently became a resident and now have a valid ss number. I have changed my social security number at my job to the new one, but I am not sure if I will lose all my accumulated social security benefits for changing numbers since my old one is fake. If so, is there a possibility to transfer it to new number? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: I think you need to consult with an immigration attorney who is associated with a lawyer who handles federal criminal law, or visa-versa. I would think that you have been committing a federal crime, most likely fraud, for the past 15 years. If you try to “transfer” your accumulated credit from the fake Social Security number, you will likely be investigated and possibly prosecuted.
Q: My aunt has Alzheimer’s and has been found mentally unfit. I have been appointed plenary guardian by the court. She is in a nursing home. Her son-in-law had authority to sign checks on her account, but no power of attorney or other authority. He sought to have the Public Administrator appointed as her guardian. I intervened, as she is my aunt and I am willing to act on her behalf, and I was appointed plenary guardian of her person and estate. I have Letters of Appointment. I call to Social Security to ask that her monthly check be moved into a new checking account. I was met with much resistance, and I was told that my paperwork was meaningless. How to proceed? (Bulger, PA)
A: Social Security does not have to deposit the check into your guardian account. The Social Security Administration has its own system which consists of appointed representative payees who receive payments for recipients. It has its own separate application process to become a representative payee. Unfortunately, you must apply. The fact that you are a relative and were appointed by the court as a Guardian will not hurt.
Q: My 70-year-old brother is a named beneficiary in my Parents’ trust and will receive $120,000.00. I would like to ensure that this money can be preserved for his needs going forward – assisted living, nursing home etc. without affecting his current social security benefits. His wife is also receiving benefits of some sort. Neither are competent to manage their own affairs. (Ligonier, PA)
A: First question that needs to be known is, are your parent’s alive? Is your parent’s trust irrevocable? If so, what type of discretion does the trustee have in making distributions to trust beneficiaries? You really need to have the trust instrument examined by a competent estate or trust attorney.