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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    2

    Exclamation Representative Payee Refuses to Make Funds Available

    I was assigned a representative payee in January of 2012 due to my mental health issues causing problems with my ability to manage my funds. I was fine with this when it happened, I knew I needed help. The original issues are resolved. My dilemma now is that I am unable to get my payee to let go of funds for things like winter clothing, printer cartridges, over the counter medicines, and/or going out for a meal or movie. My payee states that if I want theses things that I must make arrangements to do so with the $40.00 per week allowance I am given. I have asked my psychiatrist to notify SSA that I am able to handle my funds but he says he is not comfortable doing this yet. Is there any recourse for me? I have notified SSA about the difficulties with my payee. SSA said they would contact her. Shortly after filing this complaint (like 3 days) my allowance check was cut by $10.00. i received no notification for the reason for this from my payee. Can she do this? Just change what she likes when she likes? I don't mean for this to sound like i am ranting/raving. i am just very frustrated by this. I have had problems with this payee for months and all I get is a run around from SSA. i can not find anyone else to accept being my payee and there is only one company within my county that does this type of work.

    I have read the Responsibilities of a Representative Payee on the SSA website. "Your payee receives your monthly benefits and must use the money to pay for your current needs, including:

    Housing and utilities;
    Food;
    Medical and dental expenses;
    Personal care items;
    Clothing; and
    Rehabilitation expenses (if you are disabled).
    After paying those expenses, your payee can use the rest of the money to pay any past-due bills you may have, give you spending money, support your dependents or provide entertainment for you. If there is money left over, your payee should save it for you."

    All my payee wants to do is cover basic living expenses, make payments on bills that I may not be legally responsible for, and put excess funds in savings.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: Representative Payee Refuses to Make Funds Available

    You have not presented anything to indicate the Payee is doing anything wrong. Obviously, you are not deemed prepared to make these decisions yourself. If you can find someone to be Payee, that does not charge, like a relative, this will increase the amount available for your needs. I suggest you shop at Goodwill and other stores, where your money will go farther. I just bought a like new jacket for $3.00 at one store.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,844

    Default Re: Representative Payee Refuses to Make Funds Available

    Quote Quoting Mykil
    View Post
    My dilemma now is that I am unable to get my payee to let go of funds for things like winter clothing, printer cartridges, over the counter medicines, and/or going out for a meal or movie.
    Prepare a budget and submit it to your payee, documenting your current allowance and expenditures, and how you would spend an increased allowance. I can't promise it will convince the payee to give you more money, but it's a lot better than simply saying, "I need more money".

    Winter clothes are a separate issue from recurring expenses. A $10/week increase isn't equivalent to a clothing budget, and if you want to spend most or all of that money on OTC medications, printer cartridges, entertainment, etc., you're probably better off allowing your representative payee to hold onto the money for periodic / seasonal wardrobe expenditures.

    After your payee pays your bills and gives you the allowance, how much is actually left over?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: Representative Payee Refuses to Make Funds Available

    Mr K, that seem to be the issue. OP does not appear to want their bills paid. They want cash to spend.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Representative Payee Refuses to Make Funds Available

    First, do you know your monthly SS/SSI/SSDI benefit? And what bills your Rep Payee pays on your behalf - rent, utilities? Is your Rep Payee providing you with a statement each month of how your money is being used, and proof of the amount of any bills they are paying? This is something you have the right to demand. Once you know how much you are left with after bills each month, divide that by 4 (average weeks in a month). Then take about 1/4 to 1/3 of each weekly payment and consider that the Rep Payee is supposed to be putting money into the bank as savings - yes, SS requires Rep Payees to keep a bank account with some sort of savings in there for emergent and future needs as it is in the best interests of the beneficiary. If your Rep Payee is keeping more than this and the account they have the savings in is getting close to $2,000 (the max amount a person receiving SS benefits is allowed to keep before their benefits are reduced), then you need to either make sure they know their responsibilities as Rep Payee and allow you to purchase (or purchase for you) the items you want (winter clothes, medicines, and printer cartridges are very reasonable and fall under needs as defined by SS, and entertainment funds are allowed if all other needs have been met). If they do not, you have the right to contact the SSA and ask them to assign a different Rep Payee. It'd be best if you can find your own alternate Rep Payee and tell the SSA that is who you want to be Rep Payee, as they will be more likely to make the change than if you do not have a backup (they don't like searching for Rep Payees on behalf of beneficiaries).

    I'm currently a Rep Payee for my sister on SSI. She gets $785/month, of which $520 goes to rent, approximately $80 to gas/electric, and $35 to phone, cat food, and other miscellaneous necessary bills I pay to save her the trouble of budgeting for those (she would likely end up homeless if I didn't). This leaves her about $150 per month, of which I give her $25 a week cash over the average 4 weeks in a month, leaving $50 to be put into savings for emergencies and future needs. With her $25 she is supposed to take care of her needs like gasoline, laundromat, toiletries, and a little entertainment (in reality, she buys cigarettes, fast food, and drinks at the bar). It sucks to live on $25 a week, but this is the reality for the disabled of America and with a bit of budgeting, it is possible. So in my sister's case, I have to break into that $50 savings for her almost monthly to bail her out when her car runs out of gas or she has run out of phone minutes - but that is what that savings is for, and that's why I don't give her that extra $50 in cash. Even though I feel I am reasonably managing her money, she feels I am not and this is a constant battle. There are two sides to every story, and sometimes I think people just don't have an accurate or full picture of how things are.

    Unfortunately a lot of people with Rep Payees are in that situation because they simply can't budget. If you feel you are now able to manage your own benefits, contact the SSA and ask them to review your case. It helps greatly if you can get a doctor to say they do feel you are capable of managing your benefits and budgeting. Perhaps take a free course on money management, and learn about your benefits and make a chart of your monthly expenses and show this all to your doctor.

    PS: There are many resources in every community that all SS participants should be taking advantage of - free bus passes, food banks, clothing banks, pet food banks, utility help, emergency help, education financing for the disabled, ticket to work.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Representative Payee Refuses to Make Funds Available

    Thank you for your reply. I have spoken with my doctor and he agrees that I am ready to manage my own finances now. I will call SSA am ask them to reevaluate my case.


    mykil

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