I recieve a monthly amount of money from SSI because of emotional/behavioral disorders. I am diagnosed with Bipolar, ADHD, and Asperger's Syndrome. I am able to live independently, though as of right now, I have a payee that my monthly check goes to, who doles it out to me based on my needs. Whether or not I'm legally not allowed to be my own payee, I don't know. I don't think I am, but I'm not 100% sure.
My payee is my grandmother. She is the only person in my family willing to be my payee. The only other option in terms of payees is The Organizers, the only organization that is legally allowed to handle other people's SSI for them, at least as far as I know. I used them at one point, and they were absolutely terrible- they sent me a $30 gift card for groceries that only had, like, 15 dollars and something cents on it, though they spent $30 of my money to pay for it, they refused to reimburse me, they refused at one point to pay my half of the rent and legally threatened the landlady when she tried to ask for it, and when we finally decided to switch my payee to my grandmother and asked for an account of their handling of my money, they refused that point-blank as well. I don't think this was legal either, but all this happened in August of 2010, so I'm not sure if that is still in the range of the statue of limitations still or not.
But my main problem is, my grandmother always has the last word on how I recieve my money. I know that's what a payee is supposed to do, but here's an example of my problem with this:
She sends me my food money in the form of an Albertson's gift card, though snail mail. I want to spend it somewhere cheaper, such as Wal-mart's supercenter or the 99 cent store. I also want to be able to be more flexible in where I shop for groceries, in case of a certain deal going on in whatever store there happens to be one. So I asked her to deposit the money in my bank account, which is where she deposits my personal money each week. I didn't even ask her for an increase in my weekly amount for food, just a different form of giving it to me. She also spends my money on stamps to send the gift cards to me, though this isn't that big of a deal to me. But every attempt at negotiating things like this with her is a major struggle, and she hints regularly that if I don't do it her way, she'll just make me go back to the Organizers, which I already explained why I don't want that to happen.
I know for a fact she isn't cheating me out of anything, because she regularly goes over reciepts and her bank statements (of the account that deposits my monthly check to her) with me, proving how she spent each withdrawal. I don't think she would actually make me go back to the Organizers, but in case I'm wrong about that, how can I become my own payee?
My psychologist has said that she refuses to recommend that for me until she gets 6 months more of data/notes/etc. on me (and even then she might still refuse), and I know my grandmother, and probably the rest of the family as well, would protest against it. I do not have any medical or psychological reason for not being my own payee (I'm not an addict of alcohol or any other illegal substance, and I do not have a medical reason that would prevent me from it, either). I admit that I have trouble managing my money sometimes, but it's something I can overcome if given the chance.
Is there any way I can become my own payee without the reecommendation of a professional or family member? Is it possible to become my own payee on a trial basis if they need to see proof that I can handle it? How can I legally fight against my grandmother's decisions?