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My my mom has been in the nursing home for almost 2 years. They had been taking small amount of her Social Security payment, $78, and placing it into an account for her. My question is, am I able to access that money?

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yes if your DPOA.
ASAP you do need to find out what your moms balance is in the PNA aka NH trust account. $78 a mo x 24 is $1872.
if all in mom has over 2k in savings / $ / assets it’s an issue for Medicaid.

Max nonexempt assets for an individual Medicaid LTC resident is 2k.
If mom should still have a bank account & it too has $, then all her sources of income added up have to, HAVE TO, be at or under $2,000.00. This is mucho importante, cannot go over 2k.

If it’s over, you need to take your Dpoa and go to the billing Dept at the NH and either do a withdrawal (like whatever to get her to like under $1500 so you don’t have to fret on this every month) or if you think they’ll be difficult, take cash receipt for like $400 / $500 of replacement clothing and toiletries for your mom, to be reimbursed to the penny from her PNA trust account. I’d suggest that you ask for a duplicate receipt on your purchases so you turn in 1 to the NH and keep the other. Target tends to be user friendly in doing dupe receipts btw.

A better NH sends out a statement of the PNA every 90 days.
My moms first NH send out none. I zeroed it out weeks before I moved mom to her new 2nd NH.
Her second NH did them every 90 & it paid a teeny interest. Btw under state law it was required to pay interest. I kept my moms at abt $250 tops but usually abt $150 or so. It was used for auto pay for beauty shoppe and for activities gal to debit for outings the NH did, & for mom to get $ for the canteen the NH had. If it went low, I wrote check from moms checking account to replenish. My mom did NOT make the NH her representative payee for her SSA or retirement income, so each mo her checking acct built up by $60 PNA that TX allows. It is NOT required for the resident to do make the NH the rep payee. Although I’ve found, the NH will heavily imply it needs to happen. Yeah sure and I’m wearing my size 6 slacks again.

im guessing the NH is your moms payee. If so, it is what it is.

when my mom died, the NH billing office send me a check for the balance, maybe 2 months later. I’ve known of NH that make the check out to “estate of”.... if you get one of those, unless you open probate, there's no place to deposit it. Personally I think it’s deliberately done by some NH as a way to keep the $.
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As long as you are your moms POA, you can use that money to buy things for her.
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Are you her POA? You can access for her care if this is the allowance allowed by SS. Say clothing, pharmaceuticals, snacks, whatever she likes. Check with her facility how this works, and of course any POA keeps records of expenditures.
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In my MIL's facility their Resident's Trust funds can't exceed $250 and that may be their own policy or it may be in tandem with Medicaid (she is a Medicaid recipient), I don't know. Those funds are for a la carte salon services and if the facility has a gift shop, they can use it to buy cards and small items. I'm a little surprised that the facility is actively saving that money for her...we have to actively write a check to the facility to stock my MIL's trust. I'm not sure where those funds go after she passes but I would ask her facility.
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igloo572 Oct 22, 2020
That’s a good NH, imho.
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You should be able to. It sounds like mom's personal needs allowance. If the balance grows to exceed $2,000.00 it may effect Medicaid eligibility. But, it must be spent for mom. No gifting.
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