Lend a Helping Hand and You Can Make a Difference

homelessLife can change in the blink of an eye. One moment you live in a warm, safe place; the next moment you can find yourself without a roof over your head.

Who do you turn to? Where can you go?

This is a reality for millions of Americans every day. Fortunately, we can help — but we need your help. If you know of someone in your community who is homeless, you can let them know they’re not in it alone. Social Security provides services to the homeless.

People who are homeless can apply for benefits and, if found eligible, can have their benefits deposited directly into a personal banking account, a Direct Express debit bankcard, or another electronic account. They can also have their benefits sent to a third party or, if necessary, a representative payee can receive their funds.

Social Security also works with other agencies to help the homeless. At our website, you can learn more about the Health Care for the Homeless program that provides grants to a network of local public and non-profit private organizations. Social Security participates in the Federal Inter-agency Reentry Council, as well as the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program. PATH helps people with serious mental health issues or people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Homelessness is a complicated and emotional. It is tough to think of a relative or a friend living in this kind of reality. It happens more often than we like it to think but as a community and nation, we can help. Educating our community is the first step. Visit our website to learn about the safety net that Social Security provides.


76 thoughts on “Lend a Helping Hand and You Can Make a Difference

    • There is nothing to know. Social Security at the Field Office level can refer homeless people to the county welfare office or to private agencies but can not do anything to relieve financial distress unless the individual qualifies. We would not process a homeless person’s claim in a different manner from someone who has a roof over their head.

      • I don’t believe a word of this or what social security states. Its plain BS, ask a homeless person from the police state of Florida NONE OF THIS TRUE,

      • We want to remind everybody that our official agency responses will always include the Social Security Administration (SSA) seal, and that we have an official social media team dedicated to posting messages and responses to customer inquiries or comments that specifically address SSA issues. Please remember that members of this team are the only individuals authorized to provide comments on behalf of SSA. Thank you for your support and for using our blog.

        • Not commenting on behale of SSI we are commenting on. The BLOGS IS MISLEADING. SSI STOP acting like I are the wonderful safety net fact is if in 1970 when I first stated collecting from my washes 47 years later. I would have done all I could not to pay because of the hell I get fighting for help. And I’m a homeless Get that’s disabled and waiting

      • Ant that the true been homeless. Disabled, 13year veteran and still waiting on second claim this time with lawyer almost a year. Just more homeless after paying in for Over45 years

  1. This is trully a positive message that I have not heard or seen it publicize. If the Social Security Administration has this program. I would like to be informed on what are the criteria of eligibility.

    • It’s good if you accept the false narrative. This article is nothing more than a misleading piece of propaganda.

  2. my name is Brenda I’m about to be put out of my home ive own for over ten years I lost my job and found another one but it just pays 750 an hour that doesn’t even pay my bills so sometimes I go without food to pay bills and I don’t go to the doctor because I don’t have 20 copay I signed up for my social security early because I need this money to stay in my home

    • You might try calling “United Way” by dialing “211”, which if operational in your area, can provide you information about food stamps (SNAP), food banks, energy assistance, etc. Also, the fact that you now have lower income may mean that you would qualify for free medical assistance through Medicaid. Both SNAP and Medicaid are offered through your local Social Services (AKA Welfare) office.

      The SSA website also provides similar referral information for your area here: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp Just put in your zip code and then at the very bottom of the page that comes up, click where it says “Other agencies” that can assist you with your welfare, housing, meal assistance and other support services. You might also try the zip codes of other large cities in your county, as some Social Security offices do a better job of listing the area’s potential resources than others. In addition you might ask around for what services are available through local churches and check with your energy utility and telephone companies for any assistance programs they might know of.

      Depending on the amount of you Social Security benefit, you might also check with Social Security at age 65 to see if you qualify for a needs-based program called SSI. You might also want to read the SSA publication “What Every Woman Should Know: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10127.pdf

    • For assistance with your mortgage or other types of housing related issues, go to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website at http://www.hud.gov.

      Hope this can be of some help… Have a blessed day!

  3. Wow this is a great program that people need to know. If a person wanted to leave there spouse because there causing mental abuse. Is there help for that

  4. We need to have a great candidate in the oval office. One that is able to have congress working with them. It is too bad that the GOP has shown they are partisan before American. It shows in how much they argue about Democrat’s especially the President. Racists attitudes because Barack Obama is African American. This has been happening by those Republicans since 2008. Starting with Mitch McConnell (turtle man) who stated they would never do anything President Obama proposed. And goes on with his appointment of a new Supreme court Justice. I as a voting American hate what they are doing to this Country by partisan attitudes.

    • Both sides are just as partisan. Thank God there have been some restraints on the Executive Office. It could have been better. In our form of government it’s called “checks and balances”. Race is used as an indictment of anyone who does not believe we are on the correct course in order to shut up the opposition.

  5. Hi, I was classified, disabled several years ago, and recently separated , I was recieving SSI, but when I filed for spousal support , my SSI was cut off, does this mean that I am no longer disabled, please explain….

    • You must meet both the medical and non medical requirements to get SSI. If your income from any source is too high then you are cut off. The fact that you are disabled has nothing to do with it. SSI is a needs based program like any other welfare program.

      • Is it possible to receive a loan towards your SSI benefits? I ask because I am at the administrative law judge review and my home is in foreclosure!

    • Thank you for contacting us Curtres. Remember that benefits paid under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, are subject to other income and resources. While you may still have a disabling condition, we must also determine if you meet the non-medical eligibility requirements. Generally, the more countable income you have, the less your SSI benefit will be. If your countable income is over the allowable limit, you cannot receive SSI benefits. If you have additional questions, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and talk with one of our representatives.

  6. I am 55 years old collecting SSI been married for 36yr im a domestic abuse Rape survivor been to college started working at the age of 14. I became disable in 2001 really 1998 I worked so I can send my children to college. My husband left all the bills behind he living a care free life. Stole 15,000 dollars from me from s settlement that money was for bills. He was out of worked for knee surgery and was not paying any bills He is collecting disability now of almost 2000.00
    Compare to my 872 I’m limited to certain things I can do. I Have a power stat pay as you go light bill. When he left In July 2015 light bill was almost 1000.00 my name was not on the account if I would put 50.00 they would take 25.00 and put towards old bill until they found out I use to work for the! Now it’s 2/3 lights still shut off facing foreclosure. Can’t find a lawyer in North Carolina legal aid DONOT do Divorce or separation .I can’t afford one all these people with so call funding are abusing it or there are no such thing as help just letting you see no help for other countries and certain nationality yes. I use to hear a lot of people talking about no help for us So true and if you do ask for help they referring you to mental health they say we don’t give out money.I can tell you a
    Lot I get every news letter from social security on down to stock nothing my email is overflowing with junk I put in this so call system and no funding for me. Remember been looking for help since July 2015 nothing very sad and upsetting

  7. Doug, don’t be so sanctimonious. Social Security is itself causing a significant percentage of our nation’s homeless problem by making it virtually impossible for many needy people to manage their affairs with SSA. How? By closing offices that aren’t in urban centers, and instead making people wait for hours on the SSA 800# for agents that are only good at reading scripts. Usually these employees don’t really know much, and they don’t seem to be trained or authorized to do any but the most routine tasks.

    What makes closing local offices worse is that SSA insists on using often virtually impossible to meet telephone ID standards. This presents a special hardship for those that have relocated frequently or for those that have cognitive/vision/hearing issues (but who can otherwise handle their own affairs). I am told some 15+% of the callers to the national 800# can’t be ID’d because SSA agents use no common sense in soliciting answers during the ID process, and this number is climbing. SSA agents use an extremely rigid ID process before assisting clients, and when the caller can’t meet this standard, SSA agents tell the caller that SSA can’t help them today because the ID provided was “insufficient” (purposely no clue is given as to the nature of the ID problem). For example, if a caller provides a “current” address that is not in SSA’s records, agents won’t ask if the caller recently moved or even how long they have been at the address they provided. The situation is even worse if the client asks to change their direct deposit information, as the client is asked to give the current routing number SSA is using, and due to bank mergers and takeovers, this information as it appears in SSA’s record, while still operational/usable, is obsolete and no longer the routing number the bank would provide as the correct one for the account. Thus often SSA often refuses to change its clients’ direct deposit information timely, and especially for those already behind on their rent, the result is sometimes homelessness.

    Another reason agents often provide for refusing assistance to callers is due to the ID process being “compromised”. This often occurs when a caller commits the offense of getting verbal help in providing the address SSA has on file from a friend or relative that is nearby (instead of the caller reading this address from an envelope instead). SSA does not appear to give consideration to the fact that many older and disabled people have vision, hearing, and memory issues, and often such people are forced to move between unfamiliar addresses staying wherever they can due to medical or financial issues.

    Then there is the disability claim denial rate. Approximately 80% of disability claims are initially denied, but if you pay an attorney $6k to say “hello” to the judge (the attorneys often do little more), go through bankruptcy, through years of poverty & appeals, then about 80% of these same claims eventually get approved back to the originally alleged onset date! Even once approved, it then takes months just to get your 1st monthly payment, and it is almost guaranteed that any retro-pay that is owed will be further delayed in red tape for many additional months (often even if there is no SSI entitlement involved, but a prior SSI record simply exists).

    Worse, when you ask SSA how soon you may have access to your past-due money so that you might pay your creditors and move to a tenable place, you are given unrealistic timeframes that often won’t really be met. Later the excessive delay is explained with platitudes about excessive workloads. It seems nobody can (or will) give you an realistic answer about how much longer your retro-payment might be delayed, and as a result it often feels like the delay is due to inefficiency, ineptness, & SSA personnel that care care only that THEIR paycheck is on time. Few SSA agents show real compassion. Any that do seem to disappear quickly, probably because actually trying to help clients navigate the overly-complex system instead of just telling them anything to move the line along brings down the wrath of SSA’s bean-counting management (who deems such an employee non-productive). The result of this is a circular cycle that hurts real service delivery and productivity, and it also tends to leave only uncaring amoral employees that would never make it servicing the public in the private sector.

    SSA has additional internal problems that often disadvantage its clients. For example, letters are often sent asking SSI clients to call in to their worker, but the telephone numbers provided are never answered. When the client then “fails to respond”, SSA then cuts off the benefits (and the client is often left homeless before SSA has time to reinstate benefits). Also, records often become full of erroneous information, even if the client does manage to do their part in reporting changes. This is especially true with SSI and multiple entitlement households, where updated information provided to SSA often updates only some of the affected records. The result of this is overpayments and underpayments on those records that didn’t get updated, which SSA then blames on the client. Apparently SSA’s software isn’t capable of recognizing and updating all affected records at the same time, or employees are racing through their assigned workloads so fast that they don’t notice or care that there are other client records also affected.

    The whole system described above is a national disgrace, at least as bad as the VA scandal that in recent years has gone public (and that like SSA’s problems, was well-known by its clientele). The only things that SSA has been doing particularly well is to hide the above issues from the general public and to not focus on its rather blatant service delivery problems. From what I hear, SSA’s current acting commissioner is a decent sort, so I suspect much of the above has been hidden from her. I hope she reads this, and that she then takes time to visit some offices and assist some clients herself, so that she sees some of the issues many of SSA’s clients are unnecessarily being forced to deal with.

    Horrified and/or don’t believe what I’ve said? The story is actually much much worse than I have time here to express. Fortunately, if given proper attention, many of the problems listed could be solved with better software that interfaces multiple records and entitlements simultaneously and efficiently… IF someone would just focus the proper attention to the front-end service delivery issues I mentioned. SSA should also empower its front-end employees to be more than just powerless agents there mostly to take clientele heat but empowered to do little else.

    • Voting has consequences. SSA like many agencies has been losing percentages of their budgets since the 1980s. Since the 1980s that has added up substantially. No one in any agency has asked for these cuts. Budget cuts cause service cuts, plain and simple. If you get angry because of this and vote for an anti-government candidate you will wind making the problem worse. You may wind up going from a severely understaffed office to a closed one as happened to the IRS which closed many local offices. Less government applies for you as well as the people you may think don’t deserve your tax dollars. It is an equal opportunity destroyer of the safety net we all rely on. And we do all rely on it even if you find that uncomfortable to admit.

    • So they shouldn’t verify people ? I would rather be over verified and know that they know it is me and not someone that stole some of my information.

      Do you understand that these stringent rules are in place more than ever because of ID theft ? I bet you would be carrying on to no end if someone called them and changed where your check went, would you not ?

      And where did this 15% stat come from ? Source ? So if they get 50K calls a night, 7500 are turned away for not knowing their information ?

  8. I have a mentally ill son who is an adult . He was recently released from a mental inst, in another state. On fri june 25th went to the local office and was told that no one could see us because they were short staff because of the holiday. went back on Wednesday 29th and was told that it was again to busy because of the holiday. In meantime was given another appointment for july 19th at 9:00 so we go to the office however was told that our 9:00 appointment must be rescheduled because the rep had a 10:00 and a 11:00. Point taken the rep had already called the house at 9:33. which is 33 minutes after the actual appoint. once we did get back to the agent room she started to be very agitated for no apparent reason. I could see the rep that we saw on the 29the making gestures as if to tell this rep He’s the one. I feel that my son was not wanted in the office so we were pushed around, He lost his certification when he went in the mental inst. So he has to re apply. He has no one to stay with but grand mother and myself. He was treated like he was the Walking Dead. A person cant help if they have mental problems and should be treated with dignity just like anyone else coming into the office for help. Just wanted to report the tactless treatment of a citizen.

    • Hi Jorian. We apologize for the situation you and your son experienced in one of our field offices, and we certainly understand your frustration. We regret that we did not provide you with the quality of service you and your son expect and deserve. We value our customers and understand how important it is to offer exceptional service. You can request to speak with the local office manager to report any deficiencies in our services. We appreciate your feedback, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  9. There seems to be a general misconception about Social Security and benefits available for its consumers.
    It may be an Idea for the Social Security Administration to begin having Orientations every morning before attending individual customers; weeding out ones in the wrong place for a wrong service, and providing a briefing on SS services, and benefits, then re-directing customers to the more appropriate services.
    Bringing in an expert for each Social Service most readily of concern to daily customers may be an answer as a Social Services Prevention Innovation Service as a priority ???.

  10. I’ve been on SSDI since I was 54 and it’s been very hard getting the correct answers to questions..ie..What % did the SSA hold back for having to take my Social Security at such a young age. I’ve heard absolutely nothing was held back from me..this is very hard to believe. I also have been told 33% – 40%..The whole gist of what I Believe is that Whatever My Total Amount was is what I deserved to be given. No if’s and’s or butt’s, this is Our Money and Not the Governments…

    • When you get retirement benefits, SSA uses a formula that considers your highest 35 years of earnings between age 22 and 62, and benefits are paid accordingly. The wages in the various years are “indexed” to account for inflation. Thus your early years of employment will count more towards your retirement benefits than you might initially think.

      The SSIDI benefits you took were calculated using a similar formula. However, the formula is modified to focus on the years you were able to work. Thus SSIDI essentually pays you now what you would have been able receive if you had been able to keep working and you waited to take benefits at full retirement age. More information here: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-much-social-security-disability-ssdi-benefits-can-you-get.html

      So the answer is no, your benefits were not purposely reduced in any way just because took SSDI at an early age. Of course if instead of becoming disabled, you had been instantly promoted to a much higher-paying job, then your full retirement age benefits probably would have been substantially higher than your SSDI is now. Conversely, if instead of becoming disabled you had found yourself unemployed for the rest of your life, your full retirement age benefits would have suffered, and you did much better drawing SSDI now.

      This brings up another important point: If you continue to receive SSDI up to your full retirement age, your SSDI benefits will convert to retirement benefits. The benefit amount will not change other than as it does sometimes now due to cost-of-living increases. I hope you find this answer enlightening. Cheers.

    • SSA disability benefits (payable at any age up to Full Retirement Age) are basically figured as if the person suddenly attained Full Retirement Age, so there is no reduction in benefits. If a person files, instead, for retirement at ages 62 up to Full Retirement Age, the retirement benefits are reduced.

  11. It is sad that our own gov. Can’t provide assistance or direction for people that are destitute–jobless — why don’t we have food kitchens and free transportation to any medical assistance — and four corners N. S. W. E. assistance location. . Also – as well as 4 corners NSWE — S. S. SECURITY Offices — to serve people that do not have transportation or live too far . The expenses would be lower as well as the crowded and long lines , plus waiting 45 min to 4 hrs to be seen for 10 to 25 min..or more… Our system is not working!!!!!

  12. All this entitlement program is going to bankrupt Social Security. The US is borrowing money like crazy. It’s debt is huge. Imagine what will happen when the US cannot borrow money anymore and has to reduce it’s debt.

    The US debt is increasing faster than Social Security disability. The US will go over $20 trillion within the next four years and will be pressured to make a lot of cut.

    A lot of federal workers will be getting pink slips. They will probably be applying for Social Security disability.

    The Social Security Commissioner will get chewed out asking for more money in 2023 for Social Security disability without reducing it’s roll significantly.

    The US is so broke that it can’t bail out Puerto Rico $70 billion debt. There are a bunch of disability fraudsters in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has the highest approval rate at the ALJ level. Government and it’s people are corrupt there.

  13. If Social Security wants to help the homeless, then bring back the disability benefits for people with alcohol and drug addiction. Many of them would qualify.

  14. Social Security disability caused the substance abuse and obesity epidemic.

    Now they want to give away disability to the poor and homeless.

    I heard rumors that a homeless man rode his bicycle to the local field office, filled out an application for disability and was approved.

    I went and applied to see if this was true. I applied without any doctor, hospital, medical treatment, and medicine. I got approved and collecting that free disability money now.

    • The Social Security Administration pays benefits to eligible people who cannot longer work because of a disabling mental or physical condition expected to last at least one year or to result in death. The Social Security Act sets out a strict definition of disability and those who qualify based on our strict definition of disability are among the most severely disabled people in the country. In addition, we conduct “Continuing Disability Reviews” from time to time to make sure the individuals receiving checks are still eligible to get them. For more information, visit our Disability Planner: How We Decide If You Are Disabled.

      • The Federal Courts have interpret the law stating that a person cannot be denied benefits if they are too poor to obtain medical treatment. “A claimant should not be penalized for failing to seek medical treatment that she could not afford because she did not have insurance coverage. ” Pierce v. Astrue, 946 F. Supp. 2d 296 – Dist. Court, WD New York 2013
        946 F.Supp.2d 296 (2013)

        It would be one of the good cause for failure to follow prescribed treatment. I could cite all the loopholes in the law, but then you would have too many lazy freeloaders and who would take my order at McDonald.

      • Mental disability is a joke. The SSA doesn’t even know the strict definition of disabled for mental disability.

        SSA – POMS: DI 25020.010 – Mental Limitations – 09/14/2012

        NOTE: “Substantial loss” cannot be precisely defined. It does not necessarily relate to any particular adjective, number, or percentage.

        If the SSA cannot precisely define Substantial Loss, then they would lose in Federal Court.

  15. New York has a high approval rating at the ALJ level also. The State of New York use to have a free Disability Advocate Service aimed at getting poor and homeless people Social Security disability. There is also the SOAR program helping homeless people get that free disability money.

  16. There is so many people receiving that free disability money that the SSA has a backlog of full medical CDRs. People are getting the short form and deferring their CDRs up to 7 years.

    Normally if they miss more than a year of treatment, they would be denied on their application for failure to follow prescribed treatment.

    That doesn’t happen during the CDR process. They could go without seeing a doctor for years and see they when their CDR is coming up. The short form CDR only ask for three recent doctor visits.

    Even if they start to see a doctor and they got the full medical CDR, the SSA would continue their benefits anyways. The SSA likes giving away free disability money.

  17. Medicare is giving so much free money to the Medicare Advantage Plans that they are offering rewards like gas cards, shopping certificate, and movie ticket to the people who signed up with them. Everybody is ripping off the Federal government. You are just giving away free money left and right. Medicare is going to go broke along with Social Security.

  18. SOCIALIST SECURITY has NEVER offered me a helping hand, EVER!!!!!! The issue is a special “Rule” that the Socialist Security System uses to discriminate against “certain” people. If you are a “physically disabled person” (AKA-certain people) and happen to marry an able bodied person, then the SOCIALIST SECURITY system will use special “Rules” to legally discriminate against you and deny you benefits, even if you appeal online.

    The SOCIALIST SECURITY system has caused me a lot of economic hardship all because I married an able bodied person. The SOCIALIST SECURITY system thinks someone who is physically disabled (permanently and totally disabled) marries an “able bodied person”, that somehow magically they are cured of their physical disability and two people can survive off the able bodied persons income. WOW, talk about a bunch of bureaucratic idiotic thinking, that somehow this would not cause a financial hardship….. amazing.

    The rules that the Social Security Administration uses to legally discriminate against persons who are “Adult Disabled Children” who happen to marry an able bodied person, are discriminatory. This is loosely referred to as the “marriage penalty” but I call it exactly what it is, a legal form of discrimination.
    I firmly believe this rule, is an act of bias, prejudice and discrimination against people who (by no fault of their own) are born disabled and happen to marry an able bodied person

    Please write your Congressional Representative and tell them to end this modern day form of Legal Discrimination. In this day of fairness and equality, there are still some people suffering from an outdated and oppressive bureaucratic rule.

    (PS. notice how the only thing any of these SOCIALIST SECURITY workers ever say are quotes of the rules or processes, like a worker drone. They are unable to address any topics that fall outside of their rule books). Typical bureaucracy and bureaucratic responses, like trying to argue over lost change with a vending machine!

    • Those rules and processe4s they quote are the LAWS. So when you ask assigning questions over and over, such as why you were “punished” for marrying an able bodied man, THAT IS THE KIND OF ANSWER YOU WILL GET! it is not some hidden law, has nothing to do with this topic, and a quick keyword search on ssa.gov gave me the answer. So don’t act like a conspiracy theorist nutjob, the rules are clears and there for all, you broke them, you lost your check.

  19. The social security administration needs to do more to help homeless disabled persons and victims of domestic violence. Donna Johnson

  20. I agree with many of the personal comments voiced on this blog. I don’t think the SSA is very transparent about it’s rules and protocols for the public when it comes to SS or SSI or else the local field offices “make up” rules along the way and this behavior is either secretly sanctioned or isn’t known by those who can do something about it. They also need to “step up” when it comes to returning phone calls and maintaining consistently polite representative – client interactions. There are training customer service videos that can be viewed as continuing education and I was introduced to these on a job once. These should be used on a regular basis because GOOD customer service does not come naturally to everyone. It’s something that we all have to work on when one works with the public! The SS office should give the public an opportunity to give feedback on their telephone or in-person interactions with representatives so those in HR or Customer Service can really see, from a customer perspective, how a customer feels he is being treated during a session. Then you will know which reps need remedial training, which reps can be mentors and which ones should be let go or sent to a dept with minimal customer interaction!
    I was POA and eventually Rep Payee for my mother who started becoming ill with Dementia. Soon after that started, I discovered she had breast cancer that she had been hiding for a while – don’t know for how long or even if she knew what it was – but when I took her to a physician for unusual symptoms, the advanced tumor was discovered and it was too large and had spread too far for an attempt any life-saving methods like chemo, surgery and/or radiation therapy. I loved my mom very much and she had been through so much heart ache from early childhood and now this! I started taking her to a cancer specialist in York, PA and he started her on a hormone-based medication that did shrink her tumor, providing some measure of comfort, but didn’t necessarily buy her more time.
    Mom was eligible and received SSI and a small amount of SS when she lived in NY and did so when I moved her to PA. She also maintained a burial account, since it was “allowed” under SSI, however I could not find the the details about the type of account under which a burial account should be opened. Were there particular accounts? Was it restricted to statement accounts? What about CDs? Apparently, local banks are not well-informed either. One would think that at least the banks would know since they are practically run by the Federal govt! (rules and regs) When she approached a new bank in PA (Fulton) and explained that she wanted to set aside $1500 into a burial account – monies she could not touch during her lifetime – they advised her to open a Passbook saving account! She trusted the bank to know more about this than she did and followed their advice. They knew she was retired, receiving SS because she had to set up a direct deposit into her savings or checking account. SSA should share such vitally important financial information (and updates) with local area banks so the banks can, indeed, be knowledgeable about how to set up the right accounts so SSI recipients are not penalized down the road. Before my mom got ill with dementia, this worked out OK, but when balancing her checkbook and withdrawing $$ for expenses, etc became confusing for her & I realized she stopped balancing her checkbook for months and started withdrawing money from the Burial Fund, something she was told would NOT be possible, I knew there was a problem! Apparently, the bank’s “stop gap” measure to prevent her from withdrawing $$ from her burial fund did not work out as they had planned! No one stopped her or even reminded her about what she was doing to dissuade her from continuing and using her checking account instead. The only person who found out what was going on was ME when the bank manager called me after a few withdrawals occurred to inform me what had happened. Needless to say, I was angry at their irresponsibility and made sure he knew that. He made a suggestion that the balance be transferred to a Certificate of Deposit since the balance in a CD cannot be withdrawn (easily) without penalty and before the maturity date unless the owner of the account has expired. I wondered why they hadn’t used this financial vehicle in the first place when she set up the account!
    I had already been made POA for financial and medical purposes and transferred funds from her checking acct to build up the burial account again to it’s original level before opening the CD. So far I was still following Fulton bank’s advice as I could find no worthwhile or helpful information for recipients on this matter from SSA to follow. And, to make the situation even worse for my mother, when they would “re-certify” her for SSI, the SS office would send a large computer generated, basically unintelligible packet of monthly calculations (one mailing was 25 pages long!) which went through a client’s monthly income to arrive at the conclusion whether or not they exceeded the maximum monthly SSI eligibility cut-off. Correspondence read like form letters not personal letters and there was either no call back number or no representative name with a call back number so you never knew who to ask for as was told anyone could help you. In the latter situation, there was no continuity to your case and you felt as if you had to start you story from scratch for each new rep – very frustrating for a customer to have to do! I also never received a call-back when I did leave a message. I think this is very rude.
    There’s was no way Mom could understand what any of this communication meant to her in her declining mental state and, of course, there were no professionals at the local office – not even a clinical social worker – to assess whether or not the elderly clients being seen could even understand a modicum of the questions they were being asked or the information they were told or why. For example, a medical SW could perform a mini mental exam to determine if a client is deemed capable of comprehending and remembering what he is told or if he/she has the capacity to understand the information and to follow directions as given by the Rep at the SS office. I would guess there are more than a few of the elderly who are forced to visit the local offices who would benefit by this “test” but do not receive the modicum of respect it offers and are being taken advantage of through no fault of their own. Whether or not the SS office wants to or desires to acknowledge the existence of a POA, if one exists, that person is usually close to the client in many ways and would be very helpful in providing the necessary medical background in an expedient manner for the SS office during these times. By ignoring the POA or denying the existence of one, the SS office is doing a disservice to the client as the POA is a legal contract between the client and the POA and is sanctioned when the client is “of sound mind and body”, not after as is the RP. I believe the SS office has a duty to ask if a POA exists and for the contact information & to make that person RP as this would be the most useful way to expedite the exchange of useful information back and forth as well as protecting the client’s interests.
    My mom was done a terrible disservice, as I later learned because for many months, her Burial Fund, which should not have been counted as “income” was added in as monthly income, making her ineligible for SSI (or “overpaid” in their parlance) incorrectly. This eventually added up to ~ $7000 and they started demanding payments. One time she was in the office, one of the reps asked her to pay $500 to them and mom felt forced to pay them this amount in a check right then. She was alone and felt intimidated. No one bothered to explain the reasoning and mom didn’t understand why she had to pay anything back. This never happened to her while she received SSI in NY so why was it happening now? Is it something they do to take advantage of the elderly who have cognitive deficiencies and don’t know better? I certainly hope not! Since I was RP, I was also receiving these letters about payback and realized what happened with the bad “accounting” on SS part when I took the time to really look into the letters SSI sent her. Our government is supposed to be a system of “checks and balances”. Doesn’t anyone check alleged “overpayment” correspondence that leaves offices to make sure they are correct and review the numbers and which data are being counted? If not, this should be done. If so, someone would have seen, as I did, that her burial fund account was added into the calculation and had the calculations repeated. They might have also taken the initiative to speak with someone in the dept about the various banking (saving) vehicles used for Burial Funds – what is allowed, what can be used, etc. as a way to not only update the banks, but a customer service initiative. Or do people who work in public service not go above and beyond the call of duty?
    Well…mom passed away last year and I started receiving letters from SSI demanding payment for her alleged “overpayments”. First, I was under the impression that RPs are not held financially responsible for their clients, regardless of the relationship between the RP and the client, so why was I receiving these requests. Other vendors/merchants cannot request payments from me that were owed by my mother (she didn’t have any), however she was in a nursing home at the end and they are claiming a Past Due amount which I am not required to pay and I don’t believe she ever owed it anyway. I sent the local SS dept a long explanation and proof why I felt she did not earn this $7000 overpayment by something she did, but by mis-calculations and assumptions done on their part when she moved to PA (between Lancaster and York), showing them on their own correspondence where they added in her Burial fund on a monthly basis and how that made her monthly “income” rise above the expected maximum for SSI recipients. After that, I received a letter indicating that I now owed an adjusted amount of ~ $600 claiming that I was appointed RP after all this calculation problem occurred. However, what does RP assignment (timing) have to do with whether or not there is an alleged overpayment and an RP’s responsibility to pay it when RPs are not to be held responsible to pay for whatever the client “allegedly” does. I would assume an attempt to collect is made from the client’s estate if there is one. If nothing is left in the estate, then no one gets anything and I barely had enough to cremate mom at the end, with what she had left in her checking account.

  21. Social Security isn’t a welfare program, so they can’t help the poor or homeless unless they qualify for benefits and they had to put in some years of actual work.

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  25. I need to make an appointment with Orange county(Zip 92804) Social Security Office?
    How can i make an appointment?
    Please, let me know soon.
    Thank you!

  26. hello,
    i would like to set up a social security account online account for my eldlery mother. I am her POA how does that work?

    • Hello Susan. For security reasons, you can only create a my Social Security account using your own information and for your own exclusive use. You cannot create or use an account on behalf of another person, even if you have that person’s written permission.
      Remember, we take protecting the public’s personal information very seriously.
      Please note that having a “Power of Attorney” does not give you legal authority to manage payments for someone receiving Social Security or SSI benefits. If your mother needs help managing her benefits, you may be interested in applying to become her Representative Payee. As a representative payee, you will have access to your mother’s records and the ability to update her account information.
      A face-to-face interview is required when applying to be someone’s representative payee. If your mother cannot be present, a statement from her doctor would be helpful. The statement should say that your mother is not able to -mentally and physically- manage her Social Security benefits and identify you as the person responsible to keep her finances in order. Please read our publication: A Guide For Representative Payees for more information.
      If you have specific questions, or to make an appointment with the local Social Security office, please call 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks!

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