Senior citizens can be targeted by financial scammers and thieves. Nursing homes are particularly vulnerable. How can you protect your loved ones’ pension payments, Social Security, annuity and other income from unscrupulous staff? Here are some tips on Do Nursing Homes take your social security check
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Create a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney document (POA), which is drawn up by an attorney, can be used to legally designate a senior relative or friend as their representative. This person will have the authority to make financial decisions and manage the money. You can even do this before your loved one is ever admitted to a nursing facility. You can write the POA to only take effect if your loved one enters a nursing home or is no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
Interviewing the nursing home staff is another important step. You can ask about their response to late or missed payment, how the nursing home handles cash for residents, what they do with money released from resident accounts, and if they allow salespeople on site to present.
Ask about the facility’s theft policies and what steps they take to protect residents’ checkbooks, ATM card, federal benefit cards and other sensitive documents from financial and identity fraud. Ask the facility what their procedures are in case they suspect that a resident has been financially exploited, or is a victim or theft or fraud. A trustworthy facility has clear procedures to detect and prevent problems.
Use Direct Deposit
Do not send checks to the nursing home. Pay directly into the resident’s account. Residents of nursing homes will also prefer to receive their bank statement electronically, to avoid someone stealing their mail and gaining access their financial data. Residents should avoid accessing sensitive accounts on public computers or shared computers, as the security of their account could be compromised.
Do not allow the facility to receive disbursements
A nursing home may be designated as a representative payee. The facility will be able to accept payments directly from the Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), Department of Defense (DoD), Railroad Retirement Board and Office of Personnel Management.
Don’t bank with the facility
Patients can deposit pension checks, Social Security payments, and other money into resident trust funds offered by nursing homes. Unscrupulous nursing homes employees have stolen from these trust funds.
Peter Eisler’s 2013 investigation for USA Today found that 20 states do not require background checks on nursing home workers who manage residents’ trust funds, and that only a few states require audits of these accounts. According to the investigation, business managers, bookkeepers and other office staff had stolen thousands of dollars from residents’ trust accounts. Lack of audits allowed thefts to be undetected. These thefts ranged from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
Nursing homes have no right to manage resident money and cannot force residents to put their money in trust funds. Even if the resident deposits money into one of these trust funds, they have to authorize each transaction or designate a representative.
The Bottom Line
Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to exploitation because they may be unable to manage their finances or even get up from bed. .Do Nursing Homes take your social security check