I contacted the Dept. of Social Services in May 2008, to open a child support case for me & for help in locating my ex-husband, who dissappeared 8 years ago. Since my daughter had just graduated from high school, and was enrolled in college, my ex-husband was still required to pay support for her until she reached the age of 21. I knew that Social Services could easily find my ex-husband through Social Security, since he has been receiving disability benefits for the last several years. I have not been able to obtain that information, however, due to privacy laws.
Being the custodial parent, I am aware that my daughter/myself are required, by law, to provide my ex-husband with a copy of her college transcripts. If I do not abide by that law, her father is not obligated to continue to pay child support. That being said, I would never risk losing my daughter's benefits by not providing her father with that information. However, since his disappearance, I had no mailing address to send our daughter's transcripts to.
That's when all of my problems with Social Services began. First, after submitting a written request to Social Services for my ex-husband's address so I could provide him with the transcripts, my request was ignored. After waiting to hear from someone, I finally decided to call to request the address. I was told by a customer service agent that they could not release that address to me for confidential reasons. When I asked how I was supposed to mail the transcripts to my ex-husband, without an address, I
was told that, as long as I had provided Social Services with my daughter's college documentation, that they would forward the transcripts to my ex-husband. I had no reason to believe that Social Services would not forward the transcripts as I was told.
When my ex-husband learned that he was going to have to support his daughter until she reached the age of 21, he filed a complaint with Social Services that he had not received her college transcripts, therefore he was not obligated to support her. This is when I found out that Social Services had not forwarded the transcripts to my ex-husband as I was told they would do. I had complied with every request that Social Services asked of me & provided them with all college documentation in May 2008.
After my ex-husband filed his complaint in January 2009, Social Services contacted me to resubmit my daughter's paperwork, along with another copy of her transcripts. When I asked why they needed this information again, since it should already be in my daughter's file from 2008, it became obvious that they misplaced the first set of transcripts, which is why they were never mailed to my ex-husband. That being said, there was a hearing which terminated my daughter's benefits based on the fact that my ex-husband never received any transcripts. I was told that I could appeal the decision, but I needed to retain an attorney to do so. Since I have been laid off, I was unable to afford an attorney.
Social Services has made one mistake after another in processing my case. It was their negligence that caused my daughter's benefits to be terminated. Not only did they unjustly terminate her benefits, but they considered my daughter emancipated from the date of her high school graduation, which meant that they also took away several months of back support that was legally due to her & actually "credited" my ex-husband with overpaying support that he was originally in arrears for.
I am appalled that this government agency has been allowed to conduct business the way they have without any repercussions for their incompetence & negligence. They have simply ignored every written & verbal request of mine since opening my case in 2008, have misplaced important documents that I have had to resubmit to them, have posted payments of $500 each month to my ex-husband's account, giving him credit for paying support that he was not paying & that I was not receiving, failed to inform me of an arrearage in the amount of $850 that I was told was outstanding & due to me from 2002, failed to provide me with my ex-husband's address so I could mail the transcripts to him, yet also failed to provide him with those transcripts as I was told they would do, continually sent me the same letter in the mail, just with a different date on it, & unjustly terminated my daughter's child support benefits.
Everyone connected with Social Services that I have written to & filed complaints with have all ignored my letters. I want answers as to WHY these mistakes & oversights were allowed to happen without someone being held accountable. I want my case to be investigated, but no one seems willing to do this. Instead, they all simply agnore my letters. I will continue to fight this until someone is held accountable & until I am given some answers. This is just another example of how our government is allowed to sweep their mistakes under the rug, so to speak, without having to account for their negligence. Social Services has become a disgrace to our support system. It's very disturbing knowing that these are the same people who we entrust our children's financial well being with. We are all nothing but a number to them. A case that they are paid to get off of their books as quickly as they can.
After consulting with 3 different attorneys about my case, I was told the same thing. That Social Services mishandles these cases all the time. I am only one of hundreds that they see this happen to everyday. Unfortunately, once the mistakes are made, it
ends up being very costly to try these cases because of the amount of paperwork that is involved, which makes the case very time consuming for the attorney. So, for us, who have been victimized by Social Services & cannot afford an attorney to fight for our rights, they are just allowed to get by with this without any consequences. When an attorney tells you NEVER to get involved with Social Services, that's when you know that there is something definitely wrong with the system!