Son Asking for Social Security Number

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GYnot
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27 Nov 2019, 8:57 am

What do we do now that our 17yo son is asking for his SS#? The reasons for him not being ready for it would fill a novel, but it mainly comes down to maturity. The other side of this is that he's filling out college apps and says he needs it for financial aid. Wouldn't that only be needed after he's accepted, not now?

My wife and I are simply worn out from the arguing with him about so many issues lately. When is the breaking point that you simply give in and let him screw up his life?

Tony



Borromeo
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27 Nov 2019, 9:21 am

If he is too immature for his own SSN how can he go to college? I hear you say you have been arguing with him a bunch lately, and doubtless that has been so; however, writing this short and rather bothered bit doesn't really show what's up with your son. Is he going to give it to identity thieves, lose it on some indecent website, have it monogrammed into his bath towels and fly them like the Jolly Roger?

As someone who's currently applying for college and never was the most mature man in the world, yes, you NEED that number to get the application. Some applications won't be accepted without a social security number and it helps to pass a background check. Most things in life require it. Register to vote? SSN. Driver's license? Yep. Buying a gun? When I bought my gun I still had to pass a background check even though the gun was well over 100 years old, and they needed the SSN to make sure I wasn't some sort of steampunk Columbine shooter.

Regarding "letting your son screw up his life," at the age of reason (classically supposed to be the age of seven) we can all screw up our lives; I would say don't be a helicopter parent.

I left home for a Roman Catholic seminary at the age of 17 to try to become a priest, and made the honor roll at the university of Dallas. Then I ended up leaving because they said I was having too hard a time with it (no joke) and only then was I diagnosed "high functioning" autistic. There is no mild autism, only differences of ability, someone once said, and I wonder if they're right. Since then I've held some jobs, moved to Nashville, and am currently unsure what I'm going to do. Go back to seminary and become a priest? Go and keep in touch with this lovely lady I met while out of the seminary (No girls in there...) and then perhaps get married? Move to the middle of nowhere and fix Victrolas in a shack on a mountaintop?

Just because you don't know doesn't mean you're a failure. I don't really fail. I either win, or learn. Hope your son is the same way--at least he's got parents who kind of care but it's hard to say for sure from two paragraphs.

I relinquish the soap box.



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27 Nov 2019, 9:26 am

The kid should already have a Social Security Number!  Those college forms will not be processed unless he has one, and trying to keep him from going to college under the lame excuse of "he's not ready" for an SSN is abusive and cruel, plain and simple.

It's time to let your baby grow up.


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GYnot
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27 Nov 2019, 11:59 am

First, I've written long, drawn out posts in the past on different subjects in the life of the web. Nobody reads them or they tend to skip over so many points when replying back. This is why I've kept it so brief and to the point.

As far as my son, he's smart enough to know that having his social will get him a CC, yet not responsible enough to understand that it'll need to be paid each and every month. No matter how much we've tried to teach him he doesn't understand the concept of money or the repercussions of not paying a loan back.

We want him to go to college as we know how important it is as we're both graduates.

His idea of college isn't to start at a JC [that's literally right behind our home] while he has no declared major. He doesn't understand how much $ will be saved by starting at a JC then transferring to a 4 year when he's done with possibly a better GPA. He refuses to understand the higher chances of being accepted as a transfer or receive more financial aid or "free" money based on a higher GPA. His idea is to apply for as many loans as possible and go straight to a 4 year school, take his GE's and figure out his major while over paying and no intensions of paying the loans back. This is not a plan, it's a train wreck waiting to happen. Why would I, as a parent allow him to make such an irresponsible mistake. I understand screwing up that you can learn from, but not being irresponsible to the point of owing 10's of $thousands.

My son's idea of life is to be online and gaming day and night to the point where no one would ever see him. That's not the way to raise an autistic person, socially. We saw this happening, so we had to cut off all his online access, except for what his school allows which we cannot control. If he had a CC, the first thing he would do is buy a new computer even though the two he has work perfectly. He would then not consider paying the CC bill, that's bad decision making and being irresponsible.

No one needs to supply a SS# on college applications, only for FA. Putting your SS# on a college applications is optional. We have no need for FA at a JC as I'm sure we can swing it.



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27 Nov 2019, 3:16 pm

Fascinating! Thanks for the information. Sounds like you all have gotten some good stuff done in the past; congratulations on cutting off the Internet.

I am impressed with your resolve and with your logic. Someone with lots more experience needs to help you, not me, but it should be apparent that you guys are right. Why is he this way? Any ideas? It's not just an autism thing...



GYnot
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27 Nov 2019, 4:23 pm

Borromeo wrote:
Fascinating! Thanks for the information. Sounds like you all have gotten some good stuff done in the past; congratulations on cutting off the Internet.

I am impressed with your resolve and with your logic. Someone with lots more experience needs to help you, not me, but it should be apparent that you guys are right. Why is he this way? Any ideas? It's not just an autism thing...


We really don't know where either we went wrong or how things changed. Before he got addicted to the internet he was really doing great at school, home, socially, sports, etc. Then after Jr. High he got more and more into Discord and later Twitter. Daily limits, if you want to call them that, would get up to 6-7 hours. We told him that we still expect access to his accounts and not to lock us out. We'd look into his accounts very rarely. When we did, in the beginning, it was pretty innocent stuff that teens would talk about, gaming, silly pics, stress at school an so on. Then about 5 months ago we discovered one guy that was really bad news with his language, images, putting college down down etc., someone most parents wouldn't approve of.

We always knew our son well enough to know that either he was straight by asking a girl out in Jr. High or just not interested either way. He's never had many friends, so the people people that were nice to him he'd more cling to or even hang near even if they didn't talk to him. I totally understand his online community as it's easier to communicate with them and socialize. In person, he's now completely closed everyone out. All this added to the above guy giving my son an overwhelming amount of attention and suddenly my son's confused about his sexuality believing he's bi. This guys says that at 18 they'll move in together and have a great time. Keep in mind we don't know this guys real identity and intensions. I simply see someone that's taking advantage of someone on the spectrum. If he were to even be room-mates with this guy he wouldn't know how to act in person.

We're continually trying to get him into social events whether it be Autism/Aspergers groups, family functions, chess, sports, church, school clubs, etc. After all his ABA and other therapies and knowing what he's supposed to do he doesn't like to put it into action, he simply doesn't like people anywhere anytime except online.

Since he's blocked his accounts and made them private, we were forced to take all his devices away and blocked all online access. He does get his computer that I removed the WiFi card from, to game on 4 hours daily. He still has his Chrome book for school that we have no clue how to block online access and although the school requires it won't help us with his online issues. We know he sneaks on when he's at school but again they won't help us. We sit behind him at home to attempt to stop him from being online.

We've told him if he gives us access he'll get everything back, but even then not to communicate with people like the guy above. He refuses and prefers to not get his devices back. Again, this guy is bad news that has managed to get his clutches into someone and won't let go.



jimmy m
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27 Nov 2019, 6:15 pm

I guess the way I would look at it is "His social security number is his social security number." If he abuses it, then it is on him.

You son indicated he needs his SSN to apply for student loans. Somehow that translates into him getting a credit card. So if he had a SSN could he get a credit card?

According to the Internet:
21 is the Legal Age to Apply for Your Own Credit Card
Before the CARD Act, you could be 18 years old to get a credit card, and there weren’t very many restrictions on getting one. You didn’t even have to have a job to be approved. Today, you must be 21 years of age to get a credit card in your own name, unless you have a cosigner or can show proof of steady income.

Source: What is the Minimum Age for a Credit Card?

So he is 17 years now and he will not be able to apply for a credit card until he is 21 unless you agree to co-sign. So if you feel he is too immature to handle a credit card, your decision comes into play as whether or not to cosign.

If he wants to get a student loan in order to go to college?
Both federal student loans and some private student loans offer no cosigner student loans. A cosigner is usually needed when an individual is applying for credit or a loan and doesn't have strong enough credit and/or low to no income.

If he has no credit and no income, he will be unable to obtain most loans unless you (his parents) agree to co-sign.

So I would recommend you give him his social security number and let him use it to apply for student aid. This will allow him to apply for scholarships and for work study programs.


Since he is still 17 and not considered an adult, you should still exercise some control over how he uses his SSN. In order to make sure he is not getting ripped off.



jimmy m
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27 Nov 2019, 6:26 pm

GYnot wrote:
In person, he's now completely closed everyone out. All this added to the above guy giving my son an overwhelming amount of attention and suddenly my son's confused about his sexuality believing he's bi. This guys says that at 18 they'll move in together and have a great time. Keep in mind we don't know this guys real identity and intensions.


There are many sexual predators that roam the internet. If any of his correspondence with this individual is of a sexual nature, you may want to investigate this a little closer. If he is using school property (computers) to communicate with a sexual predator and the school turns a blind eye, this is inappropriate.



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27 Nov 2019, 9:40 pm

You know that S.O.B. can be reported and jailed, right? At least I hope so.

Predators are the worst and that's what it sounds like is happening here. Police involvement is a must--and perhaps a private investigator could get involved? (None of this is solid advice but they're ideas.)

You can either call this an inclusive, neurodiverse, 21-st century love story, or you can call it predation. Which is what it is. Get help from the authorities if you can get them to listen, because that person whoever it is on the internet is up to no good whatsoever. They do at least probably exist, and if they do then they can be stopped.

Regarding your son saying he's bi, well, a lot of us Aspies have a lot of trouble in that regard. I'm straight but have almost no sex drive whatsoever. Then again I don't really remember to eat all the time either and am almost useless. 33% of the LGBT crowd is on the spectrum, and lots of autistic people struggle with gender dysphoria. Even as "cis-het scum" who still uses "he" as the gender neutral pronoun (In English. Other languages actually have neutral pronouns or others, such as German) I STILL spent a bunch of adolescence wondering if I was adequately man enough--I stayed inside a lot and fixed antique phonographs and read old books. Turns out I'm man enough for a lot of things but it certainly was scary there for a while.

Mad respect for the Aspies who have dealt with this--right or wrong they've still gone through a hell of a confusing time, like all of us do. But no regard for that--you need to get your son out of this, without going Liam Neeson on whoever-that-guy-is unless absolutely necessary.

I hope you are able to get this through to its end. There are a lot of things worse than needing a SSN here.



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28 Nov 2019, 2:09 am

When he was very young, you could rightly dictate his choices, because he lacked capacity to decide in a way that supported his own well being.

When he got a bit older, you could still change the way he made choices, to the extent that you could shape the ways in which he learned about the world.

You are on the tail end of the period after those, when you can influence his choices, to the extent allowed by the prevailing level of mutual understanding and respect.

In few enough years, if you try to do any of those things in a way he doesn't like, he's within his rights as an adult to cut off your influence and wear the consequences.

I would suggest, you need ways to build mutual understanding and respect, and the number of chances you have remaining is dwindling, so make the best use you can of those which remain.

Since you technically do still get to make choices about things, seek clarity on whether he can or will go for a CC. If you were to take any action which would facilitate that, youil might rightly ask him to first demonstrate a track record of paying (saving) whatever the maximum monthly repayments might be, as well as demonstrate an understanding about why ending up in that situation is not great.

Are you sure you really grasp how he experiences the world? I recognize the potential for this question to seem insulting to a parent of many years. What I mean is that autism is fiendishly difficult to get right, to the point where authorities like Simon Baron-Cohen made interpretations that are a very poor fit with self-advocates' views of their condition, today.

Maybe there's more there that could be ferreted out by an expert and insightful clinical psychologist in a joint counselling session. For all I know you've been across that ground, but do consider it.



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28 Nov 2019, 4:37 pm

Fnord wrote:
The kid should already have a Social Security Number! ...

In the US, parents apply for their children's SSNs usually at their children's birth. And every year when parents file for tax return, SSNs of the children are entered in the form. So, I don't think it's about "having" a SSN. It's more about "releasing" the SSN to the child.

TimS1980 wrote:
When he was very young, you could rightly dictate his choices, because he lacked capacity to decide in a way that supported his own well being.
...
In few enough years, if you try to do any of those things in a way he doesn't like, he's within his rights as an adult to cut off your influence and wear the consequences. ...

Sometimes life is not that easy.

I once knew of a scientist that was addicted to drugs. The University where he worked for, had an arrangement with his wife, so that his wife was the recipient of his salary. Note that all this was in a different country and before the Internet era. That was the best arrangement, and he (the scientist) begrudgingly tolerated that arrangement. This way, even if he continued to have drug issues, at least he wouldn't ruin his financials. Then, one year, he was offered some visiting scientist position to Israel. Of course the Israelis knew nothing about his personal situation. Upon arrival, they asked him whether he'd like to receive his compensation month-by-month, or all at once. Guess what? Of course he said all at once. After he got paid, he naturally got overdosed immediately. The country's ambassador to Israel had to be called to handle his medical situation and arrange for his return. It was quite an embarrassment, institutionally speaking.

What's the moral of the story? Not everyone is mature enough to be responsible. Sure, we can all go the legal route, follow the law and each person's legal rights, until disasters happen, and then try to pick up the pieces. From the case I have seen, I really don't think that was the best route. Sure, after disasters happen, you would then probably have enough evidence to qualify the person as incapacitated and unable to make decision for himself, but it would be too late, anyway. We can argue all we want about about each person's rights. But the hard reality is that, disasters do happen, and sometimes, those disasters also mean the end of story, no more lessons to be learned. It could spell the end of life of a person. Some mistakes can only be made once. The first mistake, unfortunately, could also be the last mistake. And some people will just have to live with their sense of guilt, forever.


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GYnot
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01 Dec 2019, 4:54 pm

Thank-you all for your replies, I do appreciate it. I did not know that about applying for a CC and being 21. It may us losen up, but please read on.

On the CC issue. The other day when he inquired about it again, I asked him if he were to have it who he thought would be appropriate to ever give it to, aside from these specific applications. His answer, "only my close friends". I was more shocked at this answer than him possibly applying for a CC. WOW!! We've told him so many times over the years to not trust anyone, but family with any private information or opinions. Regrettably, he has no friends in school or outside school, he's pretty much a loner. His "friends", are these people online. Guys like I mentioned above I'm sure would fit into the "close" category. That's what I'm dealing with here. Still appropriate to just give him his SS#?

After this conversation with him, I told him again how important it is to never give this number out to anyone when he does get it. Of course he was very defensive and got argumentative as usual.

I can only imagine him taking off just after 18, meeting up with this guy thinking life's now going to be great, the guy doing whatever he wants, suckering him into doing almost anything, getting his social and in the end dumping my kid off somewhere or worse. Ya, most people say I'd be over worrying, but again I know my son and how truly naive he is, we see it all too often.

My wife and I spoke and came up with a way to show him some responsibility to start out with. We've decided to get him a checking account that also provides him with a debit card. It costs $5/mo. The money put in it will be money he already has saved, so when it's gone it's gone. We'll start it at just $200. If he blows it on burgers he'll have to learn by that and find that he won't have the cash to buy the MacBook he wants for college. He'll have to make sure each and every month that the $5 is there. Little will he know that we'll have an eye on it and won't mention anything about that. He'll have a register to keep track. If we see he's being responsible he'll naturally gain more trust from us and we'll be able to move on from there.

In addition to this we want him to get a job. The downside is most job applications are online and he'd again need his social.

We just got him a new phone because of a Black Friday. Unfortunately we'll have to use the Parental Controls to prevent him from getting online and downloading any Apps which do the same, but make sure he can call or text us. I hate having to take this route, but because of his naivety we feel it's necessary.

The guy that's ruined our son's ability to be online has now made his accounts private, which I'm sure our son is still included. He sneaks at school and when he's supposedly doing homework at home. The minute we're on the other side of his Chromebook he switches back to chatting as we can see him smiling and reading. He also keeps his screen very dim. If we were to grab it, which we haven't he'd more than likely get physical. He's hit us before and all we can do is stand there and take the abuse.

I agree, his school should be liable as they're allowing him to get online.

I approached the police over the phone and they said that the only way they can help is to question him even though we printed out what this guy has said online. If they speak to him, he'll only further distance himself from us and we'll lose him even more. Not sure what to do here.

Since we've taken the internet away [almost] we're looking for alternative socializing opportunities. Thanksgiving day he hung with his cousins and only spoke when spoken to, but we'll take it. In the past three weeks he's attended two different Aspie groups. Let nights group allowed us to meet separately with other parents. It went well, but if we attempt to ask him anything about it like we have in the past, he usually get's negative and says he didn't like it and sees no need to return. We'll keep plugging away at this. Since he's Aspergers, wouldn't he take note and wonder why he's also around a couple others that are clearly typical autistic? He is very intelligent, but makes me wonder.

He is seeing a psychologist, but we're looking for a better fit for all of us. My wife and I are seeing a new one this week.



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03 Dec 2019, 7:30 pm

Unfortunately you seem to setting up a battle for control with your son, and that is NOT likely to turn out well. I understand he doesn't have the maturity and has made past mistakes that give you reason not to trust his judgement, but pretty soon the legal brakes will be off and at this rate I would consider it likely he will sprint away. This may be one of the reasons he is so determined to go away to school. He feels a NEED to be independent, ready for it or not.

Making sure he remains willing to come to you and listen to you seems like a high priority to me. Work on rephrasing your logic and positions until you find the ones that finally make sense to him. Maybe create some spreadsheets that show him the reality of what things cost, how quickly the student debt will run up, how much he would have to repay against a normal salary, etc. The interest on student loans is not low at all, and will run up quickly. ASD individuals tend to be visually oriented, so make a visual.

Also re-frame the relationship so this fight for control stops, and you start to actually work together.

You may have to let him fail a few times so he understands you really have been trying to look out for him. As parents it is scary to let our kids fail, but we actually need to. Failing is an important part of learning, and they will blame you less for mistakes they know they choose to make against your advice, than for preventing them from having the freedom to make the mistakes.

He cannot get any job outside of private babysitting and pet care without his social security number. You aren't going to be able to withhold this piece of information for much longer. Change the battleground conditions NOW so that you won't find yourself forced out of his life.

I know this is hard and super scary, but the law sees 18 as the magic number and there is no leeway for individual differences unless you take the drastic step of declaring him incompetent, which I would not recommend; that will likely create irreparable harm to your relationship.

My son didn't like Aspie social groups, either. He's rarely liked being around other people on the Spectrum. Sometimes being similar is really irritating. He learned what he needed to anyway.

My son matured a lot between 17 and 18. Your son can still surprise you.


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04 Dec 2019, 1:26 am

I think Borromeo asked a good question. If your son is to immature to handle a SS# then how is he mature enough to handle college? And, how is he mature enough to handle a job?

It seems like you're putting him into no win situations. No wonder he is acting out.

This is the sorta NT logic that makes absolutely no sense. He's immature to handle knowing his SS# yet he's competent to hack a job and college which would require levels of maturity above simply knowing and keeping the SS# a secret.

DW, even the Cheshire cat makes more sense.



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04 Dec 2019, 7:19 am

If he doesn’t get his SS#, he can’t apply for any job whatsoever in the United States.

I understand your plight all too well. I could have been one of those kids myself. I wanted things at 17, too, that I was too immature to handle. Luckily, there was no Internet in 1978.

When is he going to be 18? I wouldn’t throw him out on the curb then—but I would use that as a bargaining chip for when you have these talks.

I wouldn’t be all tough all the time with him. I would tell him the potential consequences of his actions. I would talk about other people who have done these actions—and how they might have wound up on the street and in big trouble. This happens all the time with reckless teenagers. I would tell him that you love him and want the best for him. And that he can always come to you if he has problems. I would treat him with respect, and expect the same from him.

I was a reckless teenager—but, luckily, I had people who spoke to me and who prevented things from happening.

He has the potential to harm himself and maybe others through his reckless actions.

Is he on any sort of drug? (I'm certainly not implying that he is----but kids can get really rebellious when they abuse drugs).

One other important point: remember when you were 17, and tell him what it was like. Don’t judge him by adult standards standards. Remember that you were a teenager once, yet you came out okay. And he probably will, too, with the proper guidance.

And remember that he has good aspects of himself...and let him know that he has those good aspects.