social security money

Q.  After my mother has been living in a nursing home for a year, the nursing home just asked me to provide receipts for how I spend my mother’s $60 a month allotment from her Social Security check. They say it has always been a government requirement. I am her guardian and have never heard of this in the state of Texas. Has anyone heard of this or is this a rule this facility has made up?

A.  You are asking about your mother’s “personal needs allowance,” one of the allowable exceptions to the basic Medicaid rule that all income must be paid to the nursing home (the amount a nursing home resident may keep may be somewhat higher or lower than $60 a month, depending on the state). You may be required to account for how this money is spent. As guardian, state guardianship law requires you to account for your spending. Also, if you are representative payee for your mother, the Social Security Administration may also require an accounting. It is not clear how either would relate to the nursing home or Medicaid coverage of your mother’s care there. But, of course, every state is different.

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