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Any hints or information will be helpful.. all I really want to do is change her mailing address to my address now that she is in memory care, but with her dementia I can’t seem to do that. She does not have a my social security account, and I don’t think she could be helpful to change her address over the phone, it wouldn’t go well. So….what can anyone tell me about becoming rep payee? (I am poa, but apparently that doesn’t work for social security)

Keep receipts and very good records. SS can ask at any time how money is being spent
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Is there any reason at all to get ANY mail to her at her facility? Can you not make a general change of address, then deliver mail to her that is personal cards and such? If you are her POA you can do a change of address form at the postal services.
As far as becoming payee, I was POA for my brother, handling all financial matters large and small, and was the Trustee of his Trust as well. I never had to become POA. However, it was made clear to me by SS how to do it when I visited their office. I suggest, now that they are open, that you do just that.
At minimum you will need a diagnosis of incompetency at least, and your papers to say that you are currently her POA or Guardian or Conservator. Thereafter, as well as the meticulous paperwork you already keep acting for your Mom, you will need to make reports to Social Security about her SS check.
So very much depends upon what you are attempting to do for your Mom. Few of us here have gone through the Rep payee process. The Social Security online web pages also make clear the process.
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JoAnn29 Dec 2, 2021
I did not allow Moms mail to go to her AL. I had a problem with admitting nurse because she claimed her billing had to go to her residence. I told her it needed to come to me because I couldn't guarantee I would get the bill to pay it. The PO came into the AL and put the her mail into the boxes. If her box # was not on the mail, the staff put the bill in Moms walker basket. Or delivered it to the wrong resident. I did give her address to the Church so cards would get delivered there.
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Oonly she can do it. The way to circumvent is to set up her SS online account and find the links. If she has an account ant you have no access, then you will need to petition probate for conservatorship
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Can't you just setup an online "My Social Security" account to change it?

Yes, I know this thread is two months old. I don't see though where anyone made this suggestion.
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As my dads guardian/conservator, i became rep payee when I needed to change the direct deposit from his personal checking account to the conservatorship account. My local ss office was great. Easy to work with. It was during covid when they weren't doing live appointments so we did a phone call. I have always found them very helpful.
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NightHeron Dec 2, 2021
Glad to hear from someone who did this during COVID. How did they handle having you prove who you are with documents, though (state ID, birth certificate, etc.)? Did you have to mail them, and did you get them back quickly?

I'm glad to hear there are some local SS offices that are easy to work with. Mine has been the opposite. Many weeks after first starting to call them—and I'm polite as pie over the phone—I'm no further along. I'm actually about to call a different office in a nearby state.
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Daughter, I'm in a similar boat. The only difference is that I'm a legal guardian, not that that makes it any easier for me. Here's the problem with the "go down to the local SS office" advice (you and I know this, but others who've done this in the past might not): The SSA has not been doing in-person appointments since March of 2020.

I too will probably (reluctantly) have to apply to become rep. payee, and I myself am curious about navigating this process during COVID times. I've read that some offices ask you to send drivers licenses and other sensitive documents over the mail. That's ... not very workable.

If you haven't seen them, there are a few older threads in this forum on the subject, if you do a search for "payee." Be warned that you have to wade through some bad advice, like "Just get a joint account!" (you can't) and "Just have the checks go into your own checking!" (you can't). And few, if any, are from the past year. But I learned a few things from those threads, anyway.

Finally, I totally commiserate with avoiding it because you're scared it won't go well. So many things that I thought would be straightforward matters have been anything but. Good luck to you!
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NightHeron Oct 8, 2021
Update: I called my local office today. I was on hold for a half hour, explained my situation to someone, was asked to "hold on just a moment," was then on hold for an additional hour and a half, and then someone took me off hold only to immediately hang up on me. Fun fun!
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POA worked for me with social security when I had to become payee for my father. You have to make an in-person appointment with them and show your POA papers and if you're planning on changing the account your mom's SS gets deposited in, then you'll have to bring the new account numbers.
To make an address change, go to the post office in the town she lives in. Show them your POA and fill out the papers to change her mailing address to yours. Don't tell the post office she's in a nursing home. Don't tell them down at Social Security either when you go for the appointment about becoming payee. Telling them will just complicate matters. I had no trouble whatsoever. You should be fine. In fact, Social Security didn't even ask me for my father's mailing address because his checks were direct deposit. I think you should be fine just making an appointment and showing your POA papers.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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I never contacted SS the whole time I was caring for my Mom. The checks were direct deposited and I was on the acct and POA. So I had no problem paying bills. I did have her address changed to mine but not sure if it was before or after her death. Sge still had a house. I don't see why you can't go on line to the Post Office website and put in for an address change. I would not worry about SS. When my Mom ran out of money and went on Medicaid in a NH, I allowed the NH to become her payee for SS and her pension.
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Daughter1999 Oct 6, 2021
I did a change of address with the post office and the post office told me it will last a year, so I’m good for a year. But her house is being sold, so eventually I need to change her address to mine. I can’t do it without her talking to ss office over the phone (which I don’t think will go well) or doing a rep payee. Currently her checks are deposited directly to her account and I am POA, but eventually I’m going to have to figure how to change her address for ss so I can receive Medicare statements.
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What if all you want them to do is to stop sending payments to the old facility and start sending checks to the home address they have long had on file for her? It seems like it should be a simple request, and I shouldn't need to be representative payee* to accomplish this. Of course, nothing is ever simple in this business.

*There are reasons, having to do with the very restrictive way my guardianship was set up by the court, that I'd rather avoid becoming rep. payee. Just trust me on this, for now, please.

Essentially, I just want SS to return payee status to my mother, and mail her checks to her long-time address. Without being a rep. payee. Will I have a hard time?
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NightHeron Oct 7, 2021
Answered my own question: SS won't authorize paper checks any more except in rare cases, or if you're "grandfathered in" with paper checks. Won't work for us. I was just hoping to keep things as simple as possible by not having to ask SS to deposit payments into a different bank account.

Don't mind me, I'm just thinking out loud.
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I have done it before. Changing to rep payee was an easy process for me. Strongly recommend really good records and receipts
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Daughter1999 Oct 6, 2021
Thank you for the response. I’m hoping it goes easy when I have to do it. I’m avoiding it because I’m scared it will be difficult. I am already keeping good records and all receipts, so that won’t be any different. I’m mostly concerned about changing where her check goes. I’m afraid something will go wrong. I really just want to change her address.
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Long story short, it is a horrible procedure. I went to the SS office to change my mother's address and they told me I had to bring her in with me. She was immobile and would have needed to be brought in in a wheelchair. After many calls to SS, they finally agreed to have me put her on the phone to verify her identity. Ridiculous, as it could have been any elderly lady.

I have kept her bank open to accept her SS checks. I have heard horror stories about bank account routing numbers changing, checks no longer going into bank accounts and sons/daughters pleading with SS just to change the routing number. I continue to keep my fingers crossed. They are impenetrable, like Fort Knox.

I do wish you the best of luck, though, and hope you are successful in your endeavors.
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Daughter1999 Oct 4, 2021
That’s kind of what I’m afraid of, messing things up. It works as it is, her checks go to her bank, and I manage it. All I want to do is change her address, but with dementia I’m not sure she could answer their test questions of who she is.
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Keep money separate, precise accounts and keep receipts.
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