Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Several months before my high functioning autistic son turned eighteen we started getting notification from the school system and Social Security Administration to prepare for this major life changing event. Although he personally did not change in any way physically once he became an adult since it was just a day like any other, on paper this was more apparent.
With a birthday in late March we received a letter from his school district entitled Transfer of Rights, which cited Education code section 56041.5. His birth date was noted in the letter along with a copy of their Procedural Safeguards and Parental Rights document.
I did notify his special education teacher that we would be signing over his educational rights to me once we obtained a document to do so. This was not really an immediate issue since his IEP is always held in January. She did come back to inform me that the document would have to be notarized.
Luckily I started the search for a Notary at the same time because we would need an Identification card to process the document. Since my son is leaving online schooling to spend his senior year at a brick and mortar school I opted to get two notarized copies of the document.
Both my children receive child benefits under their Father's Social Security earnings record, as well as their own Social Security benefits for their autism disability.
The letter that arrived in January listed Advance Notice of Termination of Child's Benefits, SSA-1387 (03/12) in reference to the beneficiary account. This letter included SSA-1372-BK(02/12), Student Statement regarding School Attendance, a Certificate by School Official and instruction sheets.
The forms must be filled out and mailed back to Social Security before the child becomes 18. If the child is not a full-time student or disabled, their benefits end with the payment for the month before the child becomes age eighteen.
The main phone number for Social Security is 1-800-772-1213 for guidance. I suggest adding a password for accounts so no one can call and get information or make changes.
To keep the payments coming the forms must be filled out by both the parent and school. Normally you would bring the forms to the school but my son is an online school student so we had to mail these to a specific person and keep on top of this document to avoid missing the deadline. There is an option to mail to Social Security the documents or bring them to your local office.
Social Security does need to know when they stop attending school, change schools or reduce your attendance below full-time. When you qualify for Social Security benefits as a full-time student you will continue through the month you graduate from secondary school, or the month before age 19, whichever is earlier.
In March multiple letters were received from Social Security Administration. The key information to note here is that when discussing benefits under the Father's Social Security record the letters are from Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance. When a letter is sent in regard to their own disability it is listed as Supplemental Security Income, both are from Social Security Administration. The other difference is that SSI is sent on the first of every month with SSA coming in on the third of each month. When they used to send them out as checks the envelopes were blue and gold to distinguish between them.n Please also note that we reside in the State of California.
The letters indicated that my son did qualify for child's payment as a student. beginning in March. What is still confusing to us is that the letter referenced his entitlement would continue through June. I am not sure if this is because school is out in June and does not start until August or because he is starting with a difference school district.
They also determined that he would get his payments sent directly to him instead of the direct deposit that was going into my checking account. Social Security Administration is also sending me a copy of all documentation to let me know what changes are taking place.
We had to open up a separate checking account for my son and add me on the account so I could continue to transfer funds from all the Social Security accounts to my checking account to pay rent each month.
In May we received a letter from Social Security Administration entitled, Notice of Continuing Disability Review. This was to inform us that they were starting the review process for a disabled adult. Included was the authorization form to disclose information to the SSA, Form SSA-827 (11/12), along with the Disability Report Adult Form SSA-3368-BK (01/10 eff (04/10).
There was a specific date these documents needed to be sent back with little time to waste. A day later I received another letter from Social Security Administration , also under Supplemental Security Income informing me of an appointment date for the annual financial review for my son. This was with a different worker than the one we were to mail the forms for the medical review.
I called and left message for both women noting that the appointment was for the same date the forms were due back. The worker for the meeting was more accommodating and said we could do this over the phone. I mentioned that school was ending and taking my son out of school for an early morning appointment did not seem necessary.
This worker was very confused with the two accounts my son has and the numerous savings and checking accounts for each Social Security deposit. Two days after our phone interview one of the accounts received more money. This was due to my son now being an adult with the payment reflecting that change. She also informed me that they were putting me back as Trustee of his account. We are still getting two letters of correspondence for every update.
She sent me two pre-paid envelopes to mail her my paystubs for the last year for the financial review. Now that my son is eighteen that is no longer a requirement as my income has no bearing on his payment.
The worker that we sent the Adult forms to generated a letter from Social Security Administration stating that I contacted them for an appointment on behalf of my son. This was set for an early morning that would mean leaving the computer and his school work. I called and we handled the details over the phone. This was her asking what the checking account number was for his new benefit as an adult.
A few days later we received a print out confirming all the information I submitted during the review. This listed that my son was no longer in school. I had to call again and leave a message stating that was not accurate. Included in this information was a fact sheet on SSI Federal Living Arrangement Categories, another one specific to the State of California along with SSI rules that help SSI recipients work.
We are still awaiting the outcome of his adult benefits application. The payment continues through the process. The Regional Center Coordinator said all her clients get approved without the need for a medical evaluation.
Other forms and changes pertaining to becoming an adult include registering to vote. My son voted for the Mayor of Los Angeles in a recent election. The Selective Service form was filled out online. Now the mail has increased from the Armed Forces for both sons.
I did request a confirmation from the Special Education teacher on their receipt of the Transfer of Educational Rights notarized document. Her email reply noted that since it was a legal document it had to be accepted. I wanted a letter in writing showing this was done so the letter acknowledged receipt and noted that it was placed in his student file.
When I faxed in the enrollment for the high school I included the notarized form along with transfer of rights document. Since we decided it was not necessary to do a limited conservatorship for my son he had to hold his own annual IPP meeting with the Regional Center Social Worker here at home. I gave him the file from the previous year to read over and was here for the meeting as well.
We needed to get some information from his dental insurance so my son gave verbal permission to the company to relay information to me on his behalf. This will be in effect until he changes that. We felt it was not imperative to have a health care proxy or directive.
Assignment of Educational Decision-Making Authority - page 38 of this PDF
Social Security Benefits for a Disabled Child
Social Security Benefits for Children - 20 page PDF
Self Help Conservatorship
Self help guardianship