I've learned some things about Social Security that might help others caring for their parents. There is a form which you can fill out for SS to become "payee" which allows you to speak with them or act on your parents' behalf. This is not a POA (Social Security does not recognize a POA) The form must include a form signed by a doctor indicating your parent cannot manage finances on their own.
I was lucky enough to have a very nice person at Social Security explain it as my initial fear was they were going to send checks to me and it would mess up my own taxes.
She explained that becoming payee does not mean the check goes to the payee, or that it goes on your taxes. It simply means SS now recognizes you are legally managing their Social Security income on their behalf and allows SS agents to communicate with you to answer questions, etc. I would assume this also include Medicare issues as well. A good thing to have!
You are right, the way we had it before worked fine and would have continued had I remembered to fill out a forwarding address form when we moved her last year. But, I'll just have to cope, keep receipts. Mom is 101 and failing so I will not have many months of "proof" to provide.
Rep payee has reporting requirements; its a 6 page form which can require documentation for all categories and they do audits. I think the rep payee system is designed to make work for SSA employees and doing audits whether or not it is actually needed provides for that. You have to be able to provide in detail with receipts where all funds went to and break it down into categories. Spending in some categories can be investigated. Any funds left over each month have to be into an interest bearing savings account.
Amy, is what you do now to pay for mom's NH costs & her personal needs any different than before? You write a check for whatever is due and transfer funds as need be, right? How is having to keep a journal, do an annual reporting and be able to basically be on the defensive on all costs for mom an advantage? Because that is really what you need to continuously do if you become a rep payee. If your late in the reporting or something happens to question your suitability, SSA could do an inquiry on this or APS could be call to do a review.
I just feel being off the radar - whenever possible - is best.
Also please check the admissions contract. If mom is private pay most NH require a full month paid even if they die within the month. If they are on Medicaid, Medicaid only is required to pay NH a daily reimbursement rate. But private pay is whatever is in the contract. If it is only for days alive that is due, that is unusual.
The information you provide is causing me to doubt what I already knew were the rules.
If your mother dies and SS has paid her, and you already paid the nursing home that month with hed money, then they take back the funds paid to her that month
( from your joint account), won't they be legally taking your money out ?
Wish I knew the answer for you.
It does not concern any other sources of income.
There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation concerning SS and rep-payee accounts, however, you are correct, Amygrace, in that the receipt of these funds on behalf of another does not affect your taxes. Keep them separate from your own monies.
There is more to the rep-payee issues than said here.