Because Punkin is considered a disabled child and we are within a certain (low) income range, he qualifies for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Let me be clear -- I REALLY appreciate this help. Let me be clear again. The people who work at the Social Security Office have NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING.
We normally receive a direct deposit on the first day of the month; we didn't today. So I called them. The woman explained that we were in fact supposed to receive a check for $16, but because they overpaid us in previous months (and we have to pay them back $67 a month until it is repaid), our check became $0. She explained that my check was that low because our income in December was very high; I got paid three times and the Child Support Unit layed the smack down on One Non-Custodial Parent. This is when the tears started welling up.
"I called in December. I called and the woman I talked to said that she would make it so that my December payment was an overpayment so that I would continue to receive checks in February and March."
"Well, that was wrong. SSI works two months behind schedule. So your income in December affects February."
"I know that. That's why I called in December. But she assured me I would be getting a check and now I have no money to pay my rent. Do you see why this is frustrating?"
"Yes." I don't know what else she said. I was thinking about his dedicated account, which holds a sizable amount of money and requires special permission to use.
Because we were denied for two years, they had to give Punkin a lump sum of back pay which has restrictions on its use. For example, I can use it to pay medical or educational expenses or even to go to the National Fragile X Conference. I even used some of it to buy him his bed. You know what I CAN'T use the money for? Food, shelter, and clothing. I can buy a new car if I ram mine into a tree, but I'm out of luck if we need fruits and vegetables.
"Now, I've been told in the past that I can't use the money in his dedicated account to pay the rent. But I have no money to pay the rent. I have NO WAY to pay the rent."
"Could you pay the account back?"
This is when the crazy came out in my voice, "If I had the means to pay the account back, I probably wouldn't need SSI."
"But could you pay it back?"
"Well, how much is in the account?" I told her. "I'll release the money. It's okay, I'll make a note in his file."
Guess I need my crazy voice more often.