Representative Payee Services
The Representative Payee Program at Mainstream Living was developed in 2003 to reduce agency liability through compliance with Social Security rules in the handling of member funds. During the process, three full time positions (Financial Techs) were developed and trained to streamline and regulate how each individual account is handled. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a Federal entity with many strict rules for Representative Payees. SSA is diligent about checking up on their payees to ensure rules are being followed.
Mainstream Living employs four Financial Techs: Bob Baker, Abbie Agan, Bridget Kearney and Amanda Royce. We’ve asked them to share their thoughts on their job and role in the organization.
I think of my job as a Dream Fulfiller; such as when I get to help a member save enough money to take a dream vacation or even something small like a new suit. I like helping members understand their budgets and come to their own decisions about their spending choice.
I remember specifically one of our members being so excited when we told her that she had saved up money that she needed to spend a little on herself. She was so thankful. I think she jumped up and down and hugged me. It’s moments like those that make me happy to know that we can help them in this way.
The payee program means I have an opportunity to make a positive impression on someone's life. I feel like I help them achieve some stability in their life; which leaves them space to work on other things, such as their mental health and personal relationships.
When the money is handled properly, our members have more choices on how to spend; we are enhancing opportunities and, in some cases, fulfilling dreams. They may go on a trip or make a purchase of something they've dreamed about. If their basic needs were not met by payee budgeting they would not have these opportunities. To be a payee, you must have integrity because if someone has no integrity, then who is to stop that person from taking something that doesn't belong to them? Collaboration is another value to have as it is important to be able to make decisions with everyone having a voice. Finally, a payee needs to be accountable on how the funds are used and be able to prove how the funds were spent.