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Representative Payee - Say What?

I had a rough idea of what a representative payee was. I had heard the term in the past. However I didn't realize I was going to run into this now!

Okay, back story required. I receive disability for myself. I also receive(d) a payment for Cara each month as well. Before she turned 18 I had to fill out a form saying that she was still in school, which she still is. I figured that would keep things the way they were. WRONG!!!!

At the end of July I received a direct deposit for myself and Cara received a check made out to her - and only her. I hadn't even been able to file for guardianship yet!!!!!!! Now, I have a check made out to an individual who cannot sign the check with any knowledge of what she is doing!!!!! Some things you might be able to work with, but I didn't know what to do with Social Security. Oh, and when they sent her the check, Social Security sent me a letter telling me I had to send back any money I had set aside as savings for Cara. Huh? Not that I had. We use every penny we get. But still....

Well, I should have done something right then, but I was, well, stressed and struggling. Now Cara has gotten a second check! So, I call Social Security and spend a large amount of time trying to get to a person who can help me. I finally get someone at the national level who then tells me I have to call the local office. I had already tried to call the local office already and couldn't get a person. The national person then gives a completely different number than the one listed on the letter!

I call this new number and get a person (after wading through the menus, of course). He takes all of my information and Cara's information. Then he tells me that I will have to have a phone interview...but he can't schedule it right now. Huh?

Turns out only a portion of the future schedule is opened up each day. All of the future appointments get used up before the afternoon. So, since I called in the afternoon, there are no future appointments open at this point. He said to call back in the morning to get an appointment. He gave me the national number to call, saying they opened at 7. He did say that if I had a bank account with Cara's name on it and my name on it that I could talk to the bank about putting the money into that account. That will require a visit to an actual bank to deal with an actual teller (more likely a manager). I am truly getting peopled out!

Now it is today. I called the national number at 7 only to find out that they don't open until 8. From 7 to 8 is when I am helping Cara stay on track getting ready for school. Great usual. I finally call at 8 and get a person - at least I think it was a person. I state why I am calling and he said he couldn't give me an appointment that morning. He would have to give me first available. I later realized that he was confused by my language. He thought I wanted to schedule an appointment for today. I actually wanted to schedule an appointment for the future but I wanted to the scheduling today. Miscommunication is so much fun.

Anyway, he finds an appointment for me - in November!!!!! Cara has two more checks between now and then! I certainly hope I can get the bank to take these checks. I do have a guardianship letter. Otherwise, I am really going to have a mess on my hands. The guy yesterday didn't say a word about how far out the appointments would be. I am thinking of trying to call the local office tomorrow morning and see if they can find anything sooner.

I had every intention of opening a STABLE account - Ohio's version of the ABLE account. I just hadn't gotten around to it. I was going to do it after I got through the guardianship. Not the best idea in the world. You can open a STABLE/ABLE account before they are 18 and I wish I had done that. Oh well, live and learn...and then tell others!

Here is my big takeaway: Apply to be the representative payee as soon as you possibly can!!!!!!! I should have been ready with the appointment for September 2 (the day after we were granted guardianship). I wish I had known this one ahead of time...but I am sharing this so maybe someone else can avoid my chaos.

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