I received 3 booklets each for the girls from the Social Security Office, which always makes me say
“How many trees did you kill for this?!”
Only one really means anything to me: “A Guide for Representative Payees.” I am the girls’ representative, meaning they are under 18 and I get the checks. Let me make this clear that the back-checks covered some of his child support arrears and that the upcoming monthly payments will take the place of his child support payments (after he takes me to court to change that of course). So this money is child support, not extra money. It’s money I should have been getting for the past 6 years. And a measely sum at that because they kept lowering his amount the more he showed them his swollen ankles (Yes, I am serious).
This Guide For Representative Payees says that each year I will have to complete a form to account for the benefits I have received so that they can tell if I have misused money. I will have to account for money spent on basic needs, food, shelter, clothing, recreation, extra medical or dental expenses, schools, movies, concerts, activities, buying a house, home improvements, furniture, cars, or I need to put any extra money in bank accounts for them.
I’m half tempted to keep track of every penny I spend on them, hand these people 1000 pages of things like: $1.20 for gum, $.50 for bake sale, $4.00 for a movie, $2.99 for a t-shirt on sale. Then I would list bigger things like: $150 a month each for their share of the rent, $125 a month each for their share of food expense, $25 a month each for their share of gas money for having me drive them around and around and around, $20 a month each for their share of the internet bill, $20 a month each for computer ink and paper, $30 a month each for feminine products, make-up, and hair products.
Wait, let me add that up! $370 a month each and I haven’t even covered clothes, movies, or birthday presents for their friends! Yes, I’ll be putting lots of money in their bank accounts!
And let’s talk about the back pay. He would go months without having child support garnished out of his paycheck, by moving from state to state and job to job until I caught up to him with my super sleuth skills. One time it was ELEVEN months of nothing. I spent every cent I had on the kids to keep their lives as normal as possible. Sometimes I would even go without WINE. I worked and worked and went to school full time while working and he was paying nothing. So I think this booklet needs to be written:
A Guide For Representative Payees whose Children have Deadbeat Dads
1. Don’t Stress. It’s your money and you know what’s best for your children.
2. Since you have always been the adult responsible for the children, we trust you to do the right thing.
3. We are paying the other parent’s debts because he is incredibly irresponsible and we will require him to itemize where he’s spent every cent he’s ever had and then question every cent that wasn’t spent to help his children. We won’t do this to you as you seem to have your shit together balancing three kids and a job and everything else. Here’s a free vacation in Hawaii.
3. Part of taking care of the children is taking care of yourself.
4. We realize that this money will never cover what is truly spent to raise three girls and we apologize and will be sending you another $236,000 to make this right.
5. We will also be sending a representative to your house to watch the kids for the weekend so that you can take some time off and relax, along with paying for weekly housecleaning, a personal assistant, and a lifetime supply of Love My Goat red wine.