How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Stephanie O Joy, Esq Your Own Question

Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11779
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
10805288
Type Your Social Security Question Here...
Stephanie O Joy, Esq is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Dear Sir:A person is the Designated Payee (DP) for an incapacitated

Resolved Question:

Dear Sir:

A person is the Designated Payee (DP) for an incapacitated adult living in a group home.

The DP lives in Houston, TX. The beneficiary lives in Santa Fe, NM.

The DP needs to visit the beneficiary 3-4 times a year. Personal contact, meetings, liaison with caregivers etc.

SSA Pamphlets clearly state the ALL the beneficiary's SS funds should be spent on him and that the DP is NOT allowed fees for his service, unless authorized by the SSA or a court order such as one appointing a conservator or guardian.

The DP intends to petition the SSA to authorize reimbursement for this travel from the beneficiary's funds.

Are there precedents for authorizations from the SSA for travel reimbursement of a DP from the beneficiary's SS funds?

What is the procedure to request such an authorization?

Your truly,

JPB
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing SS law full time for 10+ years and look forward to assisting you. With regard to your post:

A person is the Designated Payee (DP) for an incapacitated adult living in a group home. If you are referring to Social Security benefits or SSI benefits, than this is incorrect - it is an RP = Representative Payee. But I understand your intent.

The DP lives in Houston, TX. The beneficiary lives in Santa Fe, NM.

The DP needs to visit the beneficiary 3-4 times a year. Personal contact, meetings, liaison with caregivers etc. Why? The RP handles the money, he is not the conservator or guardian of the and while usually he lives close to the RP, he need not. In fact, many times an commercial RP company simply pays the appropriate bills, allowing the caretakers, who get paid, to do the caretaking - and of course, they are local.

SSA Pamphlets clearly state the ALL the beneficiary's SS funds should be spent on him and that the DP is NOT allowed fees for his service, unless authorized by the SSA or a court order such as one appointing a conservator or guardian. That is correct.

The DP intends to petition the SSA to authorize reimbursement for this travel from the beneficiary's funds. He will not be successful, in all likelihood. If the travel is too far for him to handle conveniently, he will likely want to ask the SSA to choose another person or professional to become RP.

Are there precedents for authorizations from the SSA for travel reimbursement of a DP from the beneficiary's SS funds? No, because travel is not within the obligations of an RP, generally. The RP handles the bill paying, not the caregiving.

What is the procedure to request such an authorization? There are none. So sorry this is not legally as you wish. But I'd hate to see you spending your energies on this, only to find it a waste of your time.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions.

Sincerely,

Stephanie O. Joy, Esq.

Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11779
Experience: 19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
Stephanie O Joy, Esq and 2 other Social Security Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dear Ms. Joy,


 


Ref: a. Your answer above 9/22/2013 7:02 PM EST


b. Handbook for Guardians and Conservators a practical guide to New Mexico law Revision 2007 (Manual is the property of the Office of the New Mexico Attorney General). www.guardianshipnm.org.


c. Guardianship Alliance New Mexico GuardianshipAllianceNM.org.


 


A person is the court appointed Guardian and Conservator. He is also the SSA Representative Payee for an incapacitated adult residing in New Mexico.


 


Guidelines concerning Guardians and Conservators from many states, including New Mexico, the residence of the ward, provide the following:


 


a. "A guardian is entitled to reasonable fees for his or her services. ... If you are also the conservator, you pay yourself; otherwise the conservator, if any, will pay you. ... For example, if your ward receives only Social Security as income and must spend most of that on shelter care, your fees will be low." Ref b. p.22.


 


b. "You can pay yourself a reasonable fee for serving as conservator. What is reasonable depends on what you are paid to do." Ref b. p. 56.


 


c. "You can be named guardian even if you do not live in the same town, county, or even state as your ward. ... * Visit your ward from time to time; you may be able to get your travel expenses reimbursed from your ward's assets." Ref b. pp 11 & 12.


 


The ward receives only SSA as income.


 


It is clear that a Representative Payee (RP) is not entitled to any fees (SSA regulations) or reimbursement for travel to visit a ward because the RP handles only the bill paying, not the caregiving.


 


However, if the RP is also the conservator and guardian, with caregiving and decision making responsibilities, guidelines in references b. and c. allow for him (her) to receive reasonable fees for services and, it seems, some travel reimbursement from the ward's funds in those latter roles. These 3 roles and their differing responsibilities should be able to be distinctly separated primarily because the RP only pays bills and provides annual reports to the SSA on the use of SS funds. Conservators and guardians, in particular, have many other responsibilities frequently involving considerable time and effort.


 


This raises the question: Can a person who is the guardian and conservator be paid fees for service and receive some reimbursement for travel from the ward's funds to visit the ward in the performance of his (her) duties in these roles, even though he (she) is simultaneously the SSA RP who would not be authorized any payment from the ward's funds for that specific RP role?


 


Regards,


 


JP Bergen


 

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Good morning JP!

I see you now have questions on matters unrelated to the RP (which is specific only to the SSA), but more wondering now about the rights of a guardian or a conservator. I am glad you are now clear on the answer above regarding RP's getting paid (not) for services or getting reimbursed for travel.

With regard to your new question (which, in the future, please put it into a new transaction post so it may be properly accounted for):

This raises the question: Can a person who is the guardian and conservator be paid fees for service if NM allows for it, YES. It will depend on what is reasonable given the ward's income, assets. If he or she only get's Social Security, the feel will be small.

and receive some reimbursement for travel from the ward's funds to visit the ward in the performance of his (her) duties in these roles, This is going to VERY MUCH be considered on a case by case basis. For some wards, you can live afar and still competently do your job by outsourcing what you'd normally be doing (and otherwise frequently communicating) - but this is only possible for wards with sufficient moneys. It is unlikely a court would approve airfare fees because you and the ward choose to not live in the same community area, if that ward is of very low income - essentially, if he can't afford travel for vacation, then neither can he afford to hire a distant guardian. A guardian may want to see if the ward can move to his community area, for practical reasons.

even though he (she) is simultaneously the SSA RP who would not be authorized any payment from the ward's funds for that specific RP role? Yes, if the person has been court appointed to act as guardian or conservator, and has determined a legal fee or reimbursement is appropriate, that would NOT disappear simply because he is also an RP who wouldn't get paid by mere virtue of being the RP. He won't get paid for RP duties, but for the guardian or conservator duties.

A financial conservator, on the other hand, would likely have a more difficult time justifying travel expenses, since he is not the guardain or responsible for physical well-being.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions.

Sincerely,

Alexia Esq.

Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11779
Experience: 19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
Stephanie O Joy, Esq and 2 other Social Security Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
< Last | Next >
  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
  • I WON!!! I just wanted you to know that your original answer gave me the courage and confidence to go into yesterday's audit ready to fight. Bonnie Chesnee, SC
  • Great service. Answered my complex tax question in detail and provided a lot of additional useful information for my specific situation. John Minneapolis, MN
  • Excellent information, very quick reply. The experts really take the time to address your questions, it is well worth the fee, for the peace of mind they can provide you with. Orville Hesperia, California
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • dylatess

    ATTORNEY

    Satisfied Customers:

    3096
    36 plus years of SSD practice
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DY/Dylatess/2012-9-11_1968_BHBTemplePhoto.64x64.jpg dylatess's Avatar

    dylatess

    ATTORNEY

    Satisfied Customers:

    3096
    36 plus years of SSD practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MY/MyVirtualCPA/2012-7-5_44024_cookmegan1.64x64.jpg Megan C's Avatar

    Megan C

    Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

    Satisfied Customers:

    3942
    Licensed CPA, CMA, CFE, CGMA M.Accy Also Teach Accounting courses at Master's Level
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1138
    I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FA/fastfile/2011-12-15_23139_Klein2011small.64x64.jpg R. Klein, EA's Avatar

    R. Klein, EA

    Accountant

    Satisfied Customers:

    254
    Tax matters relating to Social Security Benefits only
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    198
    Licensed in multiple jurisdictions, experienced business attorney.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    143
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CU/Cuttinggirl/2011-10-29_03719_wcrop2.64x64.jpg Wendy Reed's Avatar

    Wendy Reed

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    83
    15+ years assisting tax clients with taxation and eligibility of Social Security Benefits.