If you don’t live near your parents and older family members, you may want to learn more about Social Security’s Representative Payment Program (RPP). The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRRBC) published a brief in August that provided some insight into the need for the program:
"Many older individuals with cognitive impairment, including the vast majority of people with dementia, need help managing their finances. For retirees receiving Social Security benefits, the Representative Payee Program can serve as one source of this help.
In the Representative Payee Program, a retiree’s benefit is sent to another person (often a relative) who spends it on the retiree’s behalf and submits records to Social Security documenting that the expenditures were in the beneficiary’s best interest."
Currently, not many people take advantage of the program. More than 10 percent of people who are age 65 or older have dementia, but just 9 percent of that group has a payee.
That doesn’t mean retirees aren’t getting the help they need. Most are, according to CRRBC. Ninetyfive percent of people with dementia have someone to help – an unimpaired spouse, nursing home staff, or adult children. Two-thirds have assigned power of attorney to a trusted party.
If your parents are older and you haven’t talked with them about how to handle issues related to finances and aging, it may be a good time to open a dialogue. Daily Caring suggests you, "Approach the conversation around the most important considerations for older adults: safety, freedom, peace of mind, social connection, and being able to make choices."
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