General Fiduciary Duties when
Representative Payee is Heartland Residential Services, Inc.
As the Representative Payee, Heartland has certain duties and obligations that it must meet under federal law. Sometimes the law requires Heartland to do things that make a lot of sense. For example, we must set up a special bank account, called a “fiduciary” account that is for the beneficiaries’ exclusive benefit. Other times, the law might not seem to make a lot of sense. For example, even though the bank account is for the beneficiaries’ exclusive benefit, he/she is not allowed to have direct access to the money.
Other duties and important information that you need to know are:
If Heartland advances money to a beneficiary for these basics it is allowed to reimburse itself from the Social Security payments. For example, if the beneficiary needs groceries, but he/she does not have the money, Heartland can advance him/her money to buy food. When his/her Social Security payment arrives at the beginning of the next month, Heartland may then reimburse itself the amount paid for food.
Any advancement must be documented by Heartland. Once a month, you will receive an accounting of all of the money received and paid out, including advances and reimbursements.
This also means that having a power of attorney or jointly sharing a bank account does not make a person or organization a Representative Payee for Social Security purposes. A special government form must be filled out, submitted and approved in order to have legal authority to manage a beneficiary’s Social Security income.
If you have additional questions or need further information on what Heartland may or may not do as an Organizational Representative Payee, you may wish to contact your local Social Security office, or check out the Social Security website at http://www.ssa.gov/ . Once at the website, simply type “Representative Payee” in the “search” box for a review of the law, common questions, and where to go to file a complaint or receive more information.
General Fiduciary Duties when
Representative Payee is not Heartland Residential Services, Inc.
Even when Heartland is not a client’s Representative Payee, it still has a certain amount of responsibility under state and federal law to do its best to protect a client’s property, which includes financial assets. For example, Heartland must ensure to the best of its ability that all clients who live in apartments have rental insurance to cover theft or loss of property due to fire or other disasters.
We want to make certain that you have as much information as possible regarding what Heartland can and cannot do as a service provider that is not acting as a Representative Payee and hopefully answer any questions you might have.
For one’s own profit or advantage, or for the profit or advantage of another “Neglect” means: failure to provide supervision, training, appropriate care, food, medical care, or medical supervision to an individual.
So again, even when Heartland is not responsible for a client’s finances, it must still report any suspected misuse or mishandling of that client’s money. Depending on the circumstances, Heartland may make reports to state and federal agencies such as FSSA and CMS, the Medicaid Fraud unit of the Attorney General’s Office, Adult Protective Services and the local police department.
Although extremely rare, there are some cases that are so bad that Heartland may join in an effort to remove a guardian in order to protect the client and his or her limited financial assets.
You are responsible for paying the remainder of the bill in full and on time. If you dispute the amount that is owed, you must contact the Financial Department immediately. Additionally, if you make payment arrangements or in some way alter the amount that is due to a shared creditor (for example, you put the home on a flat rate plan with a utility company) you MUST tell the Financial Department as soon as possible, since such an arrangement will affect how Heartland pays the roommate’s expenses.
You need to be aware that failure to pay your ward’s portion of a bill may result in a report being filed, termination of services to your ward, and possible litigation to recover any money paid out to ensure the health, safety and well-being of your ward and his or her roommate. For example, if you fail to pay your ward’s portion of the rent and the landlord threatens eviction for failure to pay, Heartland would pay the missing rent to prevent eviction and then immediately report the matter to state and federal authorities and file a law suit to recover the money it paid out from you as the legal guardian.
On a final note, please believe that Heartland fully understands the amount of responsibility that goes with being a legal guardian and a Representative Payee, and how challenging those roles can be at times. If you have questions or concerns about any financially related matter, I can assure you we will do our very best to help. However, because Heartland is an Organizational Representative Payee, its requirements and practices will be different from yours as an individual. For this reason, I would strongly recommend that you visit the Social Security Administration’s website at http://www.ssa.gov/ . Once at the website, simply type “Representative Payee” in the “search” box for a review of the law, common questions, and where to go to file a complaint or receive more information.