You must keep true and complete records of Roberto’s money and how it is used. As Roberto’s fiduciary, you must be able to account for everything you’ve done with his money.
Practice good recordkeeping habits:
- Keep a detailed list of all money you receive or spend for Roberto. Your records should include the amount of checks written or deposited, dates, reasons, names of people or companies involved, interest rates on savings or investments, and other important information.
- Keep receipts and notes, even for small expenses. For example, write “$50, groceries, ABC Grocery Store, May 2” on the receipt soon after you spend the money.
- Avoid paying in cash. Try not to pay Roberto’s expenses with cash. Also, try not to use an ATM card to withdraw cash or write checks to cash. If you need to use cash, be sure to keep receipts or notes.
- Make annual reports on time:
- If you are a Social Security representative payee, every year you must fill out a form to account for the benefits you have received and spent and verify your status and the beneficiary’s. You can fill this form out online at: socialsecurity.gov/payee.
- If you are a VA fiduciary, you must submit accountings when you are asked for them. For the VA form, go to: vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21p-4706b-ARE.pdf. VA provides helpful tips on filling out the accounting at benefits.va.gov/fiduciary/Fid_Guide.pdf.
- Keep the agency informed about Roberto. You must notify the agency of any event or change in Roberto’s situation that will affect the amount of his benefits or how they are received. For example, let the agency know if Roberto:
- Moves or changes his contact information;
- Has a change in income from any sources;
- Is imprisoned or faces criminal charges for a felony;
- Has a change in dependents;
- Will be outside of the U.S. for 30 days or more;
- Improves to the point that he no longer needs a rep payee or fiduciary, or no longer qualifies for benefits; or
- If you are a representative payee and Roberto receives Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), you have special reporting requirements. Let the Social Security Administration know if Roberto:
- Moves to or from a hospital, nursing home, correctional facility, or other institution;
- Separates from his spouse or begins again living with his spouse after they were separated; or
- Moves into someone else’s household or someone moves into or out of his household.
- Special reporting for VA fiduciaries. Let the VA know if Roberto is receiving hospital treatment or other institutional, nursing, or residential care.
- Keep the agency informed about yourself. Let the agency know if you:
- No longer wish to be Roberto’s payee;
- Are convicted of a felony or face criminal charges for a felony; or
- Have any other change of circumstances that would affect your performance as a payee.
Can Roberto get any benefits?
Find out if Roberto is eligible for any other benefits that would enable his Social Security or VA benefit to go further. For instance, you could help Roberto apply for other private benefits such as employer pensions or disability, or public benefits such as Medicaid, housing assistance, or food stamps (now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP”). Use the National Council on Aging benefits check-up at BenefitsCheckUp.org.
The Area Agency on Aging where Roberto lives can help you find information. Find the local Area Agency on Aging through the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (“DADS”) at www.dads.state.tx.us/contact/aaa.cfm.
Medicaid is complicated.
Get legal advice and be very careful about decisions that may affect Roberto’s eligibility for Medicaid, especially before you sell Roberto’s home or sign anything that affects Roberto’s ownership of his home. The Medicaid program provides medical assistance and long-term care to low-income people. For more information, visit hhsc.state.tx.us/medicaid. To apply for Medicaid visit yourtexasbenefits.com.