Good evening! I need to know if I have a solid case.
When my mom passed away, I was told I could receive her last Social Security check. The only thing I was required to do was fill out the paperwork to receive the money and leave her bank account open so it could be sent to me. After I filled out the paperwork, I called my aunt(whose name is also on my moms bank account) and told her to leave the bank account open because Social Security will be sending me money. I told her I needed her to take me to the bank and add my name to the account so I could access the funds when it arrived. She had an issue with that. She said she had money in the account as well. I asked her was she going to be keeping the account, she said no. I told her she could withdraw her money, add me to the account and then remove her name from the account that way it would just be my name and my moms name on the account. She acted as if she had a problem with that but she eventually agreed.
A week later I receive my moms bank statement saying the money had been deposited. I called my aunt and left a message asking to call me back so we can set up a time for me to get the money. She never returned my calls. For a whole week, I called over over and over, left her messages with her husband and with other family members and she never called back. Then I received another bank statement saying she had withdrew the money and closed the account. Again, I was blowing her phone up, I even went passed her house and knocked on the door and got no response. She NEVER contacted me. That led me to believe she knew exactly what she was doing.
Do I have a solid case? If so, where do I start? FYI: I dont have money for a lawyer.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Direct deposit Social Security benefits are paid into the bank account on the first of the month, give or take a day or two. So the October benefit would have been paid October 1. If your mother died before November 1, then she would not be eligible for the November check. And if Social Security was not notified in time to not send the payment, then that November benefit will have been automatically withdrawn by Social Security, and if the account would have closed before it could have been withdrawn, then your aunt would be responsible to repay it herself. From the data in your question, it looks to me like the last deposit into the bank account was made after your mother's death, and so would have been withdrawn by Social Security. So I don't think you have a case. And in fact, I think you should write your aunt a letter to thank her for helping care for your mother and apologize for your misunderstanding. Good luck.