Quick Crash Course Needed on $$'s

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DDD, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    difficult child (19 yr.old Aspie, ADHD) tells me he got a check for $600 today and is to
    get $1200 later this month. I know GFGmom (his biomom) is getting alot
    of flack because of unpaid debts. My husband has agreed to be difficult child's payee or
    whatever it is called to protect him money from his biomom and to make sure
    he learns how to manage his money.

    Quick guys. I need you all with experience with adult disability to tell me what
    you're allowed to do with the lst check/checks that have accrued since you
    applied for disability. Those of you who are really swift might provide me with
    a link that has the guidelines. husband said :( "you know you are being optimistic thinking that I will be able to keep him from following his Mothers lead". It makes me sick :sick: but truly I do believe that she has already told him "when your money comes I will
    borrow it and give you back twice the amount". Yikes. DDD
  2. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    You can find a lot of info on the Social Security website: http://www.ssa.gov/

    Chances are that difficult child is getting Social Security Supplemental Income(SSI) rather than Social Security Disability(SSD) payments - because at 19 he does not have much of a work history. SSI is meant to cover basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter.

    Hubs might want to find out what his responsibilities are as representative payee. If you need to talk to someone, you can call your local office(probably the quicker option) or the national office at 1-800-772-1213 - they have "real people" during certain hours and 24/7 recorded info.

    It is perfectly normal for you to pose your question to SS staff - about what the money is expected to be used for.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I don't have the exact info you are looking for but until it arrives from others here, I would do the following:

    1. Calculate costs of all medications - are there any that will need to be refilled soon?

    2. Gather any unpaid medical bills.

    3. List the costs of any psychiatrist, therapist, family doctor (annual physical), eye glasses, dental, ect he needs.

    3. Is there any medical services you were waiting for the funds to arrive to get?

    4. Any special items that he can use to help make his life better? A special chair, a sleep machine (sound machine), upgraded toothbrush, ect?

    Show this list to difficult child - THIS IS WHAT YOUR MONEY NEEDS TO GO TO!

    Add any cost of rent, transportation, food, ect. Show him there will be very little left over for everyday expenditures. He is allowed to use some as personal needs for whatever he chooses.

    Try to explain to him that he is not allowed to borrow this money to ANYONE - it is to help pay for HIS expenses. It would be great if he can see that it still may not be enough to pay expenses.

    I know this sounds far fetched but it does sound like he needs a very quick strong lesson in how far the dollar does not stretch.

    I think it would be great for him to have a payee. I don't know the criteria to follow to assure you can legally assign one. The department you worked with to get the disability from may be able to help you in legally setting up the payee.

    Because he is an adult and biomom will most likely object to anyone blocking her from getting the money, you need to make the payee a legal one. (you may already know this and have the process in place!)
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm glad there is a designated payee...esp. under the circumstances.

    I agree, gather all difficult child related expenses. Create a separate account for difficult child bills and never use it for anything else.

    If difficult child is going to go into an apt., much of that money will go quickly for first and last month deposit.

    When that money comes in, it might be a good time to catch up on dental and eye care for your difficult child.

    If he has not been seeing a t-doctor, you might want to consider this, if you determine that there is any extra money.

    Believe me, before you know it, the money will drop down. It really is barely enough for the care of a difficult child. As we all know, they tend to make many costly mistakes....:(
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, we're Down Under and our social security is different, but here is what we did, it could help you. We did this with difficult child 1 and we're about to put this in place with difficult child 3 - in Australia, Disability Pension begins (if you apply for it) at age 16.

    First we did what Andy suggested - we sat with difficult child 1 and worked out a list of everything difficult child 1 needed to pay for. HAD to pay for. I required a certain amount of board a week, we calculated that to mainly cover his medications (which aren't cheap). Then we asked difficult child 1 how much he wanted to have to spend each week. We added that on (making sure it was reasonable). Then we went with him to the bank.

    Now, difficult child 1's pension was paid direct into his bank account. It's the only way it's done here. So we set up a second account for difficult child 1 in his name, but we set it up so he needed a second signature to withdraw any money from it. We chose one of those "Christmas Club" type of accounts, this one was called "Incentive Saver" because you get extra interest per month if you don't withdraw any money that month and if you also made at least one deposit. with interest accrued daily, that account can build up fast.
    But what about the deposit/ well, we set up a transfer to the Incentive Saver, from his regular account. We had to allow a couple of days to make sure the pension had come in because to try to transfer the money from an empty account would cause a fee for being overdrawn (although as a pensioner, his account is supposed to be fee-free).

    So here is how it worked -

    difficult child 1's regular bank account was a card access account. At any time he can go to an ATM and check the account balance, deposit money or withdraw it. He can do bank transfers from it. Attached to this was the Incentive Saver but it did not have card access, he could only have automated transactions and transactions at the teller window. That's all. And all withdrawals had to be made with at least one other signatory present. At first that was me, but about six months before their wedding we included daughter in law on the account as signatory.

    Now, let's say difficult child 1's pension payment went into his account on the 2nd Thursday in the month. We would get him to hand over his card from the day before, to the following Tuesday. This was so he wouldn't go to his account and say, "Wow, I have all this money and I'm allowed to spend it." He simply didn't have the sense at that point.

    Now, the following Tuesday, the automatic transfer would happen - about half those funds would be whisked out of his daily access account into the Incentive Saver. THEN we would hand back his card. The next day he would go to the ATM on the way home and withdraw his board, and any other money he wanted. If he emptied his account, so be it. It was all the money he would have for two weeks, he had to make it last.

    There were times when he fouled up and was suffering badly, broke because he blew all his dough for the two weeks. But because we had already siphoned off the investment money, there was a limit to how much he wasted. And this way, he had to learn to manage his own funds.

    Every two weeks we did the dance of the ATM card. And every week when he got his card back, he knew he had two things to do, and the first one was to ensure he immeidalte met his financial obligations. THis way if he had also borrowed money from friends to tide himself over his last over-spend drought, he learned to pay it back at the same time as he paid his board. It really did help him learn.

    I don't think we'll have the same problems with difficult child 3 - in some ways he can handle his money a lot better. But we'll still use the same system of Incentive Saver with fortnightly fund transfers.

    I never thought difficult child 1 would be able to cope independently, let alone be able to manage his money. But eventually he had enough money saved so when he was ready, he was able to afford his own car. He's now a husband, being responsible and amazing, when we think how he used Occupational Therapist (OT) be it blows us away.

  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD...go to usdirectexpress.com and get difficult child's money started going onto a debit card directly there unless he already has a bank account already that it is being direct deposited into. If grandpa is the payee, the card will be in grandpa's name. You guys will be able to monitor the card online.

    Now...I am a bit confused. Hasnt gfgmom been getting SSI for difficult child for years but not telling you? Why would he suddenly be getting it changed over? The only reason he would be getting a lump sum like the 1200 would be if he just started getting it. Or is his bio father on disability? I dont remember his biofathers history. If biofather is on disability then difficult child may have been switched over to SSDI now that he is an adult.

    The fact that he got 600 today..the first...means he got SSI. Now I am also going to assume he got 650something because he should be getting the max unless there is something unknown here. The 1200 I dont know.

    With SSI he will get medicaid for all medical bills and prescriptions.

    The monthly income is to be spent on living expenses and clothing and entertainment...yeah I know. He can get food stamps too.

    As far as the extra 1200...that can go on whatever extra expenses you feel he needs. If he needs clothes or a laptop or a scooter or something like that to get around...well that is reasonable.
  7. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    here is a link to SSA's publication on being an individual payee.


    There are some special rules that apply when you get a lump sum including how long you can keep it before it has to be spent down.

    Unless difficult child has medical expenses not covered by Medicaid - mainly durable medical equipment, dental and eye care, he should only have minimal medical expenses.

    Is SSA requiring him to have a payee? If not, he can dump you whenever he wants and you have nothing to say.

    Our difficult child 1 has been on SSI since he was 18. Here is my blunt advice:

    Do not be his payee. Instead see if you can get him to agree to transfer to an institutional payee in your area. If you live in a small town this could be difficult. If you are in an urban area or city it will be very easy.

    If he won't agree then you can tell SSA that you refuse to be his payee and they will deal with it, assuming he is required to have a payee.

    If he is not required to have a payee at this point, I would tell SSA that you believe he needs a payee and why in specific detail. They will investigate and may determine that he is required to have a payee.

    Reasons to do this:

    1. Reduced friction between you and difficult child and other family members over how his money is spent, when it is dispersed, etc.
    2. You are required to report changes to difficult child's situation that may affect his SSI payments. You are almost certain to find that you are in an awkward position pretty quickly. Legally you are on the line if you make the "wrong" decision and SSA finds out. Do you really want to be in that position?
    3. If he moves into a living situation you feel is bad for him (for example with his mother) and wants you to pay his "rent" to this person (in whatever amount that person says) what are you going to do?
    4. He (or others) can accuse you of misuse of his funds and it will be on you to defend yourself to SSA. This may be harder than it sounds.

    In our experience, an institutional payee is a very effective way to deal with the kinds of issues you are concerned will arise without you having to be in the middle.

    An institutional payee has everything set up already so you don't have to set up a separate account, etc. They know all the rules and deal with inappropriate requests from payee's all the time. They don't take things personally and they don't argue with the beneficiary. They just tell them no. A good institutional payee will ask - where's your rent bill? where's your utility bill? No we're not going to give you $500 all at once at the beginning of the month, we'll give you $125 each week on Wednesday at noon.

    You get the idea. They provide structure without telling the beneficiary what to do with the money they have left after paying for shelter.

    If you have a pretty good relationship with difficult child I would ask SSA for a list of institutional payees in your area and then call some of them and ask how they operate. Do they question the beneficiary if he doesn't bring them bills to pay or if the bills seem outlandish? Do they split the money up for food, etc so he gets some every week instead of all at once? What is their procedure for transferring from a private payee to them?

    Then go check out the best 1 or 2 to see how easy it will be for difficult child to get to them, what kind of area it is - is it a safe area for difficult child to be on foot with cash in hand? Stuff like that.

    Once you've settled on one or two then I would talk to difficult child and take him there to check it out and talk to someone. If possible get him to sign the forms right then to have them made his payee.

    Finally, keep in mind that if biomom or anyone else swindles him out of his SSI money they can be reported to adult protective services for abuse of an incompetent adult and the problem can also be reported to SSA to help reinforce your difficult child's need for an independent payee.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    What I know is minimal as I didn't expect this to hit until after the first of the year and thought I would be able to implement a plan and get up to speed before the money became an issue. The only think I absolutely know is that GFGmom will (and maybe has) tell him "Mom needs money to keep the lights on at our house. If you lend me $700 for the electric company now...I'll give you ?? $900 back in two weeks" (or something to that effect) That is how GFGmom is and he is vulnerable to her manipulations

    Yes, GFGmom collected disability for (I think) almost eight years when he lived with us and used that disability money plus the child support for him that she got until 18...for her own purposes. I have told her this time I will turn you into authorities if you try to mess with HIS money. Truly I will and I do think you believe me. My husband would not be saddened one bit if we never saw or heard from her again. Period. Yep, she's used us all to the max.

    So my plan is to get him a good daily journal and a check register to use to
    keep track of his expenses. I also have a pocket sized book for him to carry so he can record little things like soft drinks, burgers etc. I know that he needs to pay apartment deposit, utility deposits and I have no idea how much those are now...probably pretty steep. I assume that once the lease is signed that I need to find on the Internet or create a basic list of items to keep in "his house" so he has a checklist for toothpaste, paper, eggs, butter etc. etc. etc. I plan to get him a subscription to the little town newspaper so he will see what is going on AND to the countywide big paper so he can clip coupons and comparison shop to maximize his value.

    I assume that he and I could shop for good used furtniture to make sure his apartment is a "fresh start". :( GFGmom plans on giving his used stuff from her shed which would be musky and stained etc. I think he should have HIS own stuff to help him have some pride and independence. His medical is all covered, evidently, by Medicaid. I have found a mental health group that has transportation for group sessions four or five times a week which will give him contact outside his four walls.

    Thanks everybody. I am noting your suggestions and the sites. It is wonderful to have such an extended family that directions and answers are better and faster than Google :D. DDD
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    SSI is a federal program, right?

    So a disabled adult who is on SSI and wants/needs to move to another state could do so and their SSI goes with them? Am I understanding that correctly?
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes JJJ...SSI can transfer.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    DDD, I share your concern about him accepting anything from biomom. Even if the stuff is his, she is likely to hold it over him and say something like, "You never paid me for all the years I stored this stuff for you," or some such.

    The state it's in - it could be easily cleaned up and painted if necessary, that wouldn't be the issue. You can clean up just about anything. But you can't do anything about someone who wants to find every excuse to ask for money. Best you can do (and it's a good lesson for difficult child) is to not give them a toehold in to manipulate anyone.

    Get difficult child watching Judge Judy regularly. Teach him the phrases, "Get real!" and "Don't *&% on my leg and tell me it's raining." He needs to learn how to get tough with biomom.

    Hang on, this could be a bumpy ride! He is likely to have "friends" wanting to put the bite on him also. Same story - he has to learn to manage his own finances, so do his 'friends'. To dole out money too freely is not donig anyone any favours, including the ones you hand money to. It's the fastest way to lose friends and family, to let money get in the way.

  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You've "got it" Marguarite. Half the stress is trying to anticipate what his biomom, aka GFGmom, will do or say. Sadly over half of it is "our secret", like when she brought home the sexual offense felon from HER prison and
    had the felon babysit difficult child and kept telling difficult child "don't tell Mama as she will not understand our life". YIKES!

    A really, really good case could be made for me bowing out completely but I just can't. I love the little brat and we put so so much into trying to teach him right from wrong and how the world works according to the plan of the Supreme Being. Sometimes I think on my headstone (or my urn) it
    will simply say "The old braod tried until she died!" :D DDD

    by the way, he isn't "as cute" as your little Harry Potter but he is a nice looking kid who has potential with the right breaks. LOL