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When my mom went into a nursing home a little over a year ago, they talked me into having her check go directly to them for convenience.
Recently, she moved to a new facility, and they do things differently, so the check needs to go into her checking account on which I am a signer, and I will in turn write a check to the facility each month.
On calling SSA to do this, they insist on speaking to Mom. I get it, they are trying to prevent identity theft. She is able to talk to them on the phone, and we have the account and routing numbers for both the old and new accounts, but Mom gets a little confused and has some trouble reading the long account numbers that are required for the changeover to take place. SSA won't let me help and ends the call if they overhear her questioning me, or me coaching her. As a result, we have been on the phone nearly every business day for the past week and a half trying to get this done. Each time it's about an hour wait to get a person on the phone.
Going into the SSA office with her would be an ordeal because of her health and shouldn't be necessary.
Making the change online is not possible because she set up an account a couple of years ago but has a lost the password and in order to recover it, they need to send an email to the email address on file, for which she has also lost the password. We tried resetting the email password, but it needs to send a code to her phone number, and she doesn't receive texts.
I can ask a doctor to write a letter saying she can't properly give the account data over the phone, but that is a problem because I would have to take the letter to an appointment at the SSA office, but their soonest appointment is mid December, and the money needs to be available the first of December so that the facility can get paid.
Sorry this is so long, but there are so many aspects to the situation and I don't know which way to turn. If anyone can offer suggestions, I would really be thankful.

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Just a comment: it is really a good thing that SSA is so picky. Can you imagine what would go on if they weren't? So much fraud. But it would be good if they had some established procedures to cover these types of situations.
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Comments on AlvaDeer's 11/27 post:

1) All these things are just such a hassle and anyone wanting to know how much of one look up "becoming a representative payee" on Social Security site.
I had to do this and it required setting up an in-office appointment, answering questions and waiting for approval by mail. It was about the simplest thing I had to deal with to take over everything for my mother. I did NOT call the main SS office as you can be on hold for a long time! Call a local office. I didn't even live in the same state as mom and used my own local SS office, not hers. I brought a lot of paperwork with me and they didn't even look at any of it. The long painful part was setting up the rep payee account needed, but that was a problem at the credit union, NOT SS.

2) When you think of it they MUST be careful. If they aren't careful any family can swoop in, any STRANGER can swoop in when someone becomes mentally disabled.
This is very true and they DO check you out before approval. They also sent a letter to both of us, to notify each of us - this would allow someone who is still competent to know what is going on and give them opportunity to stop the process. If they aren't competent, it could present an issue, but if you are not a relative, they won't likely approve anyway.

3) While waiting on the phone my bro and I during the 55 minutes...
NEVER call the main office. If you live in a large urban area, it might also be a wait using an office there. Perhaps try an office that is in a smaller town. I used the local office for both applying for my own SS and for doing the rep payee and someone answered within a very short time.
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It's worse after someone in your family dies: My mother is trying to get my father's benefits from SS, she wants to stop getting her benefits and get his. SS told her that she will only get a small amount of money from Dad's check. This kind of frustrates her. She is also trying to get the cable bill changed to her name. The supervisor mentioned that the only way she can get that changed is sending a death certificate to the company and then they will change it. Amazing that a company has to do this with a simple name change.

So My mom and I, both understand the feeling of running around in circles with SS and picky companies.
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disgustedtoo Nov 29, 2019
Several sources online indicate that the spousal benefit is only 50% of what they receive(d). So, if mom's SS benefit is more than 50% of dad's, she is better off sticking with her own. They should be able to explain that to her.

As for the cable bill, can it just wait until the term is up and not renew, but cancel and start a new account? Being a new subscriber might also allow her to benefit from the offers they have for new customers...
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As I posted on 11/21, it turned out the old NH had inadvertently given me an incorrect account number where the check was being deposited. Once I got that number and wrote a script in 36 pt font for my mom to read, we were able to get the change made. I had my mom state she wanted to have her check go to a different account and give her name, etc over the phone. Then she said she gave them permission to talk to me. At that point, I gave the old and new account and routing numbers which were the hardest part for her to give. I was told that I had missed the cutoff for the change to take place for the December check, but it would be deposited into the correct account about five days late. So we will see if it gets deposited properly on December 5. The NH is very understanding and will not be upset if they get paid a little late.

This became such a nightmare due to not having her online account password and her email account being shut down, so we couldn't do it online (which would have been the easiest way); then we were unsure which address they had on file for her (my fault), then the old NH giving us an incorrect account number. Along with each of the dozen or so calls requiring careful planning so that I could be with my mom so she could talk to them - there was always about an hour wait and sometimes they would schedule a call back, other times I had to wait on hold.

I have an appointment to take the representative payee stuff in on Dec 17, but I am having surgery on the 11th and with my work and physical therapy schedule, I am canceling it and dealing with that part of the fiasco at a later time!
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AlvaDeer Nov 27, 2019
I visited my brother recently and we did our work together on the phone as well. Problem is I am late 70s and he late 80s and I don't like to air travel anymore. It is such a problem when these things get problematic. He isn't someone who has a computer and can do any of this in that way. Luckily there is the whole Trust and Trust account thing, which as I understand it means checks, if NEED BE can be redirected to a trust account in his name. All these things are just such a hassle and anyone wanting to know how much of one look up "becoming a representative payee" on Social Security site. When you think of it they MUST be careful. If they aren't careful any family can swoop in, any STRANGER can swoop in when someone becomes mentally disabled. While waiting on the phone my bro and I during the 55 minutes listened over and over again to the message from them saying how many millions of people they serve. And it is TRUE. It is just all so big. Thanking you for the update and please have great good luck with the surgery.
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Have you tried having her fill out this form to make you her representative?

https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1696.html
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I would seek medical and legal help and get a POA - there is help available but I just don't know how. Also, perhaps your state government representatives can help - I know they can. Check with them for assistance.
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disgustedtoo Nov 27, 2019
POA does NOT work for any federal entity - not SS, not IRS, not federal pensions, not VA. Not one federal entity will use POA, been there, done that. So this suggestion is of no use. In order to "manage" any of these, you have to follow THEIR rules, not yours or someone else's. SS requires you to sign up for an appointment to set up rep payee. It is the ONLY way to manage someone's SS money. Being joint on someone's account and paying their bills using their SS is against SS rules... although many do this, thinking it is easier, it really isn't legal.
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Keep the December SSA appointment.
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I wrote out the answers to basic questions they wanted to hear from my mother. They wanted her previous address. She could remember that but not her apartment number. We barely made it but the employee on the phone became sympathetic as she had a MIL who was going downhill .
I think if you could clearly write down her address,past bank,future bank making sure she indicates she approves of changes you should be able to proceed. Wishing you the best with this potentially difficult endeavor.







.
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Riverdale Nov 25, 2019
Gosh I can't stand this spacing error on my part. My phone is becoming very temperamental but have to wait until week before Xmas for new ones which is not a great time to take that on
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This may not be politically correct, but I would call SS and say you are your mother. Have all her info ready, SS#, bank acct nbrs etc etc. They can’t prove who you are and if you can answer all their questions they should follow your instructions of what you want to do. Be at the phone number that is listed with SS in the event they want to call you back. It will save you hours of headaches.
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CharK60 Nov 25, 2019
I agree. Same for email info. I’ve told mom she has an email address but she has no clue what I mean.

I have her mail synced right along with mine and handle all her electronic notifications daily.
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Sorry to be late in posting - had to renew license today!

Anyway, the first thing I had to do to take over mom's finances (still living in her condo, but making too many mistakes) was to set up SS deposit to her main account so that I could close the other account and make it easier to maintain. I also tried calling SS from her condo and due to hearing problems mom kept saying "I can't understand you" (not that I can't hear you) when asked for permission to talk to me. I was maybe 3 feet away and could hear the woman, so I repeated that she only wants you to okay to talk to me. Result: the woman repeated it even quieter so mom couldn't hear. She finally asked for me and rudely told me we would have to come to the office and hung up. Poking around I found that the bank (credit union for us) has a form that changes the direct deposit. It automatically cancels the other direct deposit (had to wait to be sure, before I could close the other account.) I was able (coaxing them as they don't do it often enough!) to make that change happen. So that is one option you could use (but, SS considers us "using" mom's account wrong, bad, not legal, for SS funds), POA or on account or not. By SS rules, the only legit way is to set up rep payee.

When we moved her to MC, with the intent to rent or sell the condo, the address would have to be changed, so that I would get her tax and other documents sent to me, not to the condo mailbox (note also federal mail cannot be forwarded, period.) THAT required going in to the SS office.

As others have suggested, don't call the main SS number, call the local office. They set up an appointment for me to sign up as rep payee. I took all kinds of paperwork with me and they didn't ask for or look at ANY of it. Note even a letter from a doctor. Paperwork was sent to me and her (which she wouldn't see at this point, even though it went to the facility - no way she would understand it anyway!) This is done so that if someone is making this change that a person doesn't want or isn't aware of, they can dispute it.

Once approved, the first payment comes as a check, not direct deposit. I had to wait for the approval paperwork to complete the account set up (special rep payee account, so make sure the bank knows how to do this before you go there!!) The account is only accessible by you - not the facility, not mom, just you, no one else. At the end of the year, you have to report how the funds were used. Fortunately it can be done online AND all SS/pension funds are used for her place, the balance being covered by a trust fund.

So, best bet is to set up an appointment with a local office and ASK while setting up that appointment what, if anything, you need to bring with you, to speed up the process. It still could take a month or two to finalize. You could try the bank method I mentioned above, to expedite getting funds needed for the new NH. If the account the previous one was using has been closed, most likely the funds will go back to SS. They should reprocess any missed/misdirected payments when everything is set up. They did this for me when my disability was approved, sending the extra payments I didn't get in one lump distribution. But do keep tabs on it!
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CharK60 Nov 25, 2019
Thats correct that a new direct deposit form eliminates the old. The only requirement is that the name on the bank account matches the name on the social security check ‘exactly.’
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Having SSA appoint you as your mom's representative payee as mentioned in following emails makes the most short term sense; sounds like you have a durable POA for financial issues already. If you don't have a durable medical POA you should probably get one soon. However, if your mom has been judged incompetent (your doctor letter sounds like financial incompetence) and things are getting progressively worse (& you don't have Durable Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney) you may need to pursue the last resort - Guardianship. That gives you the authority to work all of mom's financial and medical issues (you will need letters for each).

Secondly, speaking from experience, state Medicaid is paid back from the estate if over 55 (double check your state) and upon death the last monthly payment will be clawed back by SSA. I think your mom, if she can afford it and is still considered competent by the state, should consider a reasonable monthly compensation to you for your efforts. Only you will know how sensitive this issue will be to other possible heirs...
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Get Power of Attorney and pray if you do not already have that she will be able to authorize for you or someone to be her Power of Attorney. Good Luck.
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AlvaDeer Nov 25, 2019
POA doesn't work for Social Security purposes. You have to be made representative payee to direct social security unless it is going into a Trust account in the person's name.
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Speak with the Nursing Home social worker. Paying the bill yourself and being reimbursed may not be an option for you I realize because that is a huge expense for a person out of pocket. I’m sure the nursing home must deal with these situations all the time. If the money is going directly to a different NH they should send that back to her so it can be used to pay the current bill. Keep the Dec appt with Social Security and do whatever is required to become her representative payee. Be sure to take all documentation you can with you. POA, birth certificates, drivers license, letter from doctor, SS cards. Documents to prove your identity as well as your connection to her and documents that prove her identity. Good luck. Trying to take care of our parents is so difficult and the government just makes it harder.
Medicare does not even recognize POA but that is another discussion.
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Pay the December NH bill yourself and reimburse yourself from your mother's funds at a later date.

Keep the SSA appt in December to make the change you need for the SSA checks. Until then, make whatever payments you need to on her behalf, keep a record of those payments, and pay yourself back from your mother's account.
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igloo572 Nov 25, 2019
Red - doing this could be a red flag for gifting by Medicaid.
Yes it could be totally explainable but imho you don’t want to go down that rabbit hole if you can help it.

medicaid can do recertifications. & part of that process involves submitting financials for the current year. If the SSA $ snafu should go on for a bit, by the time the $ finally comes in, it might, just might be in the window of statements required to be submitted for the recertification. Once on Medicaid, basically all their income must be paid as SOC (share of cost) to the NH. She can pay the Nh but she shouldn’t pay you as it looks like “gifting”. It’s better if you pay the Medicaid copay to NH directly & then once SS$ snafu is resolved & Nh gets her SS $ payment, then NH sends you a check for the duplicate payment(s). No questionable transactions in her bank statements this way for Medicaid or nosy interfering family.
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Yes, everyone thinks that it is simple as being POA but it is NOT. Everyone wants something different, including the IRS and the Social Security. You have to become Representative Payee for your Mom and that entails going to Social Security with documents proving she cannot act in her own behalf, including letters from her doctor. Another way that I HEARD word of mouth it can be done is that if there is a TRUST account, if your Mom has a Trust and you are the Trustee of the Trust now. Then I think you can have the funds sent to a Trust Account in her name. What you need to do now is to physically go to the SS office with letters from her doctor saying she cannot act in her own behalf. Any documentation you have as POA or etc. And ask them where to go from here. They investigate you. They demand that you file every year to prove how her SS funds are used. It is a mess, but they will guide you what you need to do. When you go to the office you should (I was told) put her number into the machine before showing up at the window. Not yours. I am in a relatively large city and they still had to have someone come from another office to speak with me, and it was an all day project just to get information. I am wishing you the very best of luck. But I will tell others, if Social Security is being poured into an account NEVER ever change that unless you need to. So sorry for what you are going through, but for me, since taking over as POA and Trustee it is something every single week.
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disgustedtoo Nov 25, 2019
AlvaDeer, can you repeat that last statement multiple times for my YB??? When I stated it was becoming too much for me managing everything, his response was the facility takes care of everything. No, it doesn't. She's in MC, not in a NH (but even a NH would require some effort on our part.) There are supplies to get/deliver, there are calls to report a fall or request something, there are appointments to keep track of, there is trust fund money to juggle, hair appts to make/pay for, yadda yadda... He hasn't really done much of anything since the move and condo sale. I don't even think he visits much. But, to dismiss it all without ever having managed any of it, he is an idiot! I can't even imagine doing all that I do now AND trying to care for her as well... I would likely be dead already.
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Who is POA? I am my dad's and able to sign everything, speak to doctors on his behalf.
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AlvaDeer Nov 25, 2019
A POA is no good for Social Security. They don't care about it and won't accept it. You have to be made "Representative Payee" unfortunately.
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Emanes, kudos to you & mom!
btw it sounds like mons new NH #2 is very much on residents side in stuff as they are getting the doctors note she will need for the SSA rep payee filing. That is terrific.

Do ask whomever your dealing with at NH#2 as to how to deal with moms copay IF the SS $ snafu isn’t done by next month or January (horrors but could take 2 -3 ssa cycles) copay due date. Like if you need to “bridge loan” $ on moms behalf to the NH for her copay. You probably do not want to deposit the $ into moms bank account and then repay yourself later from mos bank account. But may be better that you pay the NH and the NH repay you personally via a check to you once SS clawback happens and your mom gets all the $. I bet it gonna be in 1 big bucks fell swoop SSA direct deposit so you have to monitor her banking daily.

also just in case nobody told you, the states can do a recertifications for LTC Medicaid. And all that paperwork you submitted first time, well some of it will need to be submitted again (like funeral pre need & life insurance policies) and then maybe 3-4 months of current bank statements, SSA changes, yada, Yada... So keep a binder going with all this, so your not in a panic say next summer when Medicaid wants it and in 14 days. I did not know about the annual recertification and had put all in storage. Fun!

If you would, let us know how the rep payee goes ok. We do all learn from each other. Thanks!
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I found in calling local SS offices rather than the general number I would get a more helpful representative. Those in the call centers have a script and will hang up if you deviate from it. The local people seem to have a bit more leeway.
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disgustedtoo Nov 25, 2019
Yup... even the local ones can be abrupt - first attempt was to move mom's direct deposit from a bank she was using because it was closer to her main credit union account to make managing it easier for me. Due to hearing issues (details in another earlier post) I was rudely told by SS rep I would have to bring her in and she hung up on me. I was able to change the DD via the credit union (they have paperwork, but balked until I insisted - much easier, and it cancels out the previous DD.) Had to go to rep payee later, when we moved her to MC and needed to redirect mail (updates, tax papers, etc) to me.
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This is ridiculous. They must know that old people have trouble communicating on the phone. They have trouble ‘seeing,’ ‘reading,’ ‘hearing,’ and ‘talking’ on the phone.

I don’t recall if we have specifically dealt with social security (I’m pretty sure we have) but I help my mom out in all her affairs.

If they don’t have a record already of my name and relationship to her, they only have to ask and I will put mom on the phone to give them her permission to conduct her business with me.

One time I think, a rep required mom to give some specific information without my coaching her. It was nearly impossible but they muddled through it and then I got on the phone.

I just explained to mom they were trying to protect her and that can’t be a bad thing.

What you are speaking of would create a tremendous burden for the poor confused, elderly clients.
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I was able to call them. They talked to Mom and she gave permission for them to talk to me. We also filled out the representative payee form and sent it back in.
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AlvaDeer Nov 25, 2019
Great. That's the ticket you need. You need to be made the Rep Payee.
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All you have to do is tell them she is incompetent. I did not even want this to happen, I just wanted to be able to talk to someone about getting her a new SS card. Finally, I said she cannot come to the phone because she is incompetent and they said that they will stop payments to her account until someone comes to the office to take over the payments. So that was that.
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Yesterday my mom and I made one more attempt to get this done over the phone. She did pretty well reading the numbers to the person on the phone, but was told the bank account number for the nursing home didn't match what is in their system. They suggested going to the bank to verify the account number. So I went to the bank, and they couldn't find the account number, either. Finally I went to the nursing home and met with the business office manager. She showed me on the computer where she had taken a screen shot of the account numbers in the system for me and explained that the checks go to a third party. Thinking maybe that third party had made an error in the number, she called them and came to find out they had a completely different account number that they actually deposit the checks into. She didn't even know about that.

So all this time, even when Mom was reading off the account number correctly, it wasn't the right number at all. Ugh!

I printed and filled out the representative payee form and had her sign it, and the new NH is getting a doctor's note, and I'm going to call the SS and plan to go Monday morning to the office.
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Judysai422 Nov 25, 2019
You poor thing. Good luck. Keep us posted.
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Also, call SS office before going to see if you need to make an appointment and a list of every piece of paper you could possibly need. Seems that they told me to come on a particular day, but then I was at the mercy of everyone else who was there waiting. Take a snack and a good book to read. You will be there awhile. :-(
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Go online, set up a mysocial security account and make the changes online.
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worriedinCali Nov 20, 2019
She said she can’t because her mom has one already and doesn’t have a way to recover the password!
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Why doesn't she receive texts? Finding a way to get her phone number to receive texts seems to me the easiest route toward fixing the problem.
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emanes Nov 20, 2019
It doesn't even matter now because I found out her email account, which she hasn't used in over a year, actually got closed when she closed her internet account.
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Usually these nursing home facilities have staff, social workers etc. on hand that often handle these type issues. Have you spoken with them? Nursing homes and SSA use to work hand in hand and pretty much handled all the necessary paperwork. It's been a long time ago, and things may have changed, but it's an angle you might want to consider.
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emanes Nov 20, 2019
I have asked both the old and new facilities for assistance, but neither has been able to do anything.
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Also SSA rep payee system is pretty common. Minors who are getting any kind of SS benefit will have an adult that’s their rep payee person.
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It is likely NOT going to be resolveable by Dec 1st, so please please set aside $ from moms old PNA (personal needs allowance she got to keep each month from her SS or other monthly income) or your own wallet to be able to pay the copay due for Dec for the new NH. The copay is required Medicaid compliance & to me you really do not want this surfacing as an issue for the new NH. Even if it means you bridge loan the $ to pay her copay.

If moms SS$ was going direct deposit to old NH, did the old NH put her PNA into a in house trust account for her.? If so, did you get all the PNA $ out when you moved her? If not, go ASAP to old NH to get that $ or place request to have it closed out & a check sent to mom. Hopefully old NH was not finding monthly charges to deduct from her PNA..... some do & it’s like for cable or in-room phone & is magically the exact amount of the PNA. My moms first NH did this on those with autopay if you weren’t paying attention.....

About SSA, to me you’re past the easily getting this changed stage. There’s too too many attempts and switching of payable accounts to pass SSA muster. You’re probably going to have to become your moms “representative payee”. Google it, & yeah it’s a bit cumbersome as has mandated reporting but probably what’s gonna have to be done.

Personally I’d go that route & you first open a new gmail account for mom (so she has a new email address), then take your dpoa paperwork, the last bank statement of your moms checking account you want her SS to go into, your drivers license and a calm attitude and go to a SsA office as they open. Office will have an intake screen and you put in wanting to become representative payee - this way you get a specialist. Most SS visitors are those on SS disability and you don’t want to get stuck in that group.

dpoa can’t be used by SSA as they do NOT recognize it. But take it anyways as it’s shows intent. If your already a signatory on her account, take that as well as it too shows intent. What hopefully will happen is they give you the packet for representative payee status for you and the direct deposit form. Fill all out & ASAP as it will kinda take 3-5 weeks for SS to process and then clawback the $ paid to old NH.
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emanes Nov 20, 2019
Thank you. I did get a check for her PNA and have deposited in her account. It's not enough to cover the copay, but it will help, although she keeps saying she wants to use it to buy Christmas gifts for her grandkids...
Also, due to a delay in getting Medicaid approval when she went into the original NH, the payment actually needs to go to that original NH. But when she moved out, they closed her account, so it can't keep coming there even though they need to receive it. If the issue doesn't get resolved, the money has nowhere to go, and I fear it will become even more difficult to obtain!
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I’m sorry, I don’t have any suggestions but I understand your frustration. Dealing with SSA is a huge pain. We’re having issues just getting my mom’s address changed from her home to the nursing home. We’re not even trying to change anything about her check!
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emanes Nov 20, 2019
Thanks...I'm sorry you're getting the runaround, too! It's unreal how inefficient the system is.
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