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Can a Nursing Home Redirect a Resident’s Social Security Without Notifying the Resident’s Agent Under a Power of Attorney?

  • November 2nd, 2020
Q
My mother has been in the same nursing home for over a year. I am her agent under a power of attorney and have been handling her finances. In July I noticed that her Social Security has not been deposited in her checking account. I found out that the nursing home had the Social Security sent directly to them. Shouldn't I have been notified of this? And how can this happen without my mother's consent or signature? 
A

While we are not exactly sure how this happened in your mother’s case or why the facility failed to communicate with you, we can guess what happened. The Social Security Administration does not honor powers of attorney. Instead, they require a “Representative Payee” to act as agent for the recipient of benefits. The nursing home likely applied to the Social Security Administration to be your mother’s representative payee so that it could direct the flow of your mother’s funds. Regardless of how it happened, the facility is entitled to your mother’s income, less a small personal needs allowance. So, while their lack of communication was inadvisable, the bottom line is the same.

For more about representative payees, click here.

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Last Modified: 11/02/2020

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