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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 19134
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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I am an ex-legal guardian for two disabled sisters that were

Customer Question

I am an ex-legal guardian for two disabled sisters that were placed with me as foster children, but have aged out of foster care and are now ages 22 and 23. The girls have lived with me since August 2008. I became their legal guardians in November 2010. The girls receive SSI/SSP-22 Non Medical Out of Home Rate because they have some severe deficits, and I am their representative payee
The girls are clients of a regional center that provide supportive services for developmentally delayed consumers. The center is denying In Home Respite Care because I do not qualify as a "Family Member" according to Title 17 CCR Section 54302(a) (29) and Welfare and Institutions Code Section 4686.5 (3) (B). 3)(A) A regional center may grant an exemption to the requirements set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) if it is demonstrated that the intensity of the consumer's care and supervision needs are such that additional respite is necessary to maintain the consumer in the family home, or there is an extraordinary event that impacts the family member's ability to meet the care and supervision needs of the consumer. (B) For purposes of this section, “family member” means an individual who: (i) Has a consumer residing with him or her. (ii) Is responsible for the 24-hour care and supervision of the consumer. (iii) Is not a licensed or certified residential care facility or foster family home receiving funds from any public agency or regional center for the care and supervision provided.  Notwithstanding this provision, a relative who receives foster care funds shall not be precluded from receiving respite. - I provide all their care and supervision, they have lived with me for 8 years and I was their legal guardian when they were in foster care and licensed or certified residential care facility or foster family home receiving funds from any public agency or regional center for the care and supervision provided.
I received a letter from regional center stating," that upon closer examination of our agency has concluded that the nature of the girls residential arrangement is, in function and practice, that of informal 'board and care' arrangement. Within this context, your role would appear to be more accurately described as that of a compensated residential services provider rather than a "family member" (with compensation being secured through their SSI-funds-of which, you are said to be representative payee).
I received no financial compensation for providing supervision and care for the girls. I have allowed them to remain in my home so they can stay together because there is a history of family retardation and this has become their home. SSI/SSP-22 representative payees receive no financial compensation.
This is from the SSA website.
Can a representative payees collect a fee for being a payee? We never approve an individual to charge a fee for payee services.
We can allow some organizations to collect a fee from a beneficiary’s monthly payment for providing payee services. An organization must apply and qualify under the law, for fee collection. Social Security must approve the fee collection in writing. To qualify as a “fee for service payee”, an organization must be:
•A community based, nonprofit social service organization, bonded and licensed in the state in which it serves as payee, or
•A state or local government agency responsible for income maintenance, social service, health care, or fiduciary duties, and
•Regularly serves as a payee for at least five beneficiaries, and
•Not be a creditor of the beneficiary (some exceptions apply), and
•Submit an SSA-445 (Application to Collect a Fee) to us, and
•Be authorized in writing by us to collect a fee.
What is my course of action? I would be considered a Non Related Extended Family Member (NREFM) in the foster care world.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

You have done an excellent job of researching this issue and it appears that the regional center just needs to be apprised in writing and with supporting documents that you are not being compensated as a SSI/SSP-22 representative payee.

Not the agency's tone here:

Within this context, your role would appear to be more accurately described as that of a compensated residential services provider rather than a "family member" (with compensation being secured through their SSI-funds-of which, you are said to be representative payee).

So, first send them a letter with support explaining what you explained to us above and see if that does not solve the problem. If they still do not agree, you may want to ask for an appeals procedure that the agency may have to take this to the next level.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
What is my course of action? I would be considered a Non Related Extended Family Member (NREFM) in the foster care world.
I know that I will have to file for an Appeals Hearing because they are standing firm with their original decision that has changed numerous times, but the question unanswered is my familiar relationship as their ex-legal guardian and the continual relationship as a NREFM, does that qualify me as a "Family Member" in fact, and in law?I appreciate the compliment for researching this issue. If I am successful this will help numerous other families that are being denied respite care, which is essential to allow disabled individuals the right to choose where they want to live in homes of their choice and not in sterile environments life licensed faculties and group homes. The SSP-22 rate monthly is $1,145, the cost for a facility is over $9,000 per month each. Doesn't appear cost effective to deny respite care to keep them in their home! if this question is answered I will confirmed the additional $53.00. That you for the quick response.
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

I will have let another expert try to assist you with this as it is beyond my experience level. Your deposit is still in tact.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, waiting for the response, but my CC has already been billed the full amount.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 11 months ago.

A different Professional here.

Your recourse would be you file an appeal because the regional center''s decision is not correct.

Based on the information that you have provided here, you would be considered a family member by law since the girls reside with you; you are responsible for their care 24/7 and you are not a licensed or certified residential care facility or foster family home receiving funds from any public agency or regional center for the care and supervision provided. You are not being paid for caring for them.

Kindly give a positive rating to my response so that I can receive credit for responding to your post. There is no additional cost to you for doing this.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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