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.