January 24, 2020

Can You File for Auxiliary Benefits if the Non-Custodial Parent Refuses to Cooperate

parent refused to file for auxiliary benefitsWhat is your recourse if the non-custodial parent will not cooperate in filing for auxiliary benefits, and perhaps you do not know where he lives, his Social Security number or any other information.  Perhaps you have heard “through the grapevine” that the father (or mother) of your children is receiving disability benefits, although you are not seeing anything in the form of child support.  What can you do?

You do have a few options:

  1. Contact Social Security and file a claim for auxiliary benefits.  Obviously the more information you have about the non-custodial parent the better (i.e. his full name, date of birth, Social Security number, last known address, etc.).  Under the law, Social Security is required to make “all reasonable efforts” on behalf of your child(ren).

    Social Security’s own Program Operations Manual System (POMS) provides that SSA must protect the interest of a child by taking an application and developing necessary evidence – see POMS RS 00203.050.   Further, according to POMS RS 00203.065, you, as the custodial parent, can file Form SSA-4-BK to start the process.

  2. Contact the court that issued the child support order.  Generally courts that issue child support orders retain jurisdiction over the parties.  You will probably need a lawyer to do this, but you can ask for a hearing to compel the non-custodial parent to cooperate by filing for auxiliary benefits.
  3. Try to contact the non-custodial parent directly, or indirectly through relatives.  It is possible that your ex-spouse/non-custodial parent does not realize that filing for auxiliary benefits will not decrease his benefit check at all.  Payments to auxiliaries are in addition to payments received by the disabled person.  He may be willing to cooperate once he understands that doing so will not cost him any money.


Interview with Family Lawyer Monica Hanrahan Freitag – Part 2

In this second installment of my interview with Monica Hanrahan Freitag, we discuss auxiliary benefits and how family law judges deal with lump sum disability payments.