Ask I&A: Social Security & POA

by | Sep 28, 2022 | Advocacy, Blog, Social Security

Question: I receive Social Security income and I am having some issues managing my finances. Is there anyone who can help me?

Answer: First, check your natural supports. These are family, friends, and fellow members of community groups who would be willing to help you. Someone in your circle of trust can often be of help and provide assistance with bill paying and other budgeting matters.

Second, if you receive Social Security benefits, Veteran’s benefits or Veteran’s pension, then you are eligible for Representative Payee services at a cost of $48 monthly. A Representative Payee is a person or organization (approved by the Social Security Administration) that manages Social Security benefits for you. A family member or friend can be appointed, but the SSA must approve. The Representative Payee uses your benefits to pay for your needs, such as bills, and saves unused benefits for later use.

In Brown County, the Representative Payee is Payment Partners. Payment Partners works with individuals of all ages who receive Social Security benefits, Veteran’s benefits, or Veteran’s pension. There is another option for a small group of individuals who qualify through Brown County Payee Services. They must be referred by a Brown County managed care organization or case management.


Question: What is a Power of Attorney (POA) and why do I need one?

Answer: A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document that grants specific healthcare or financial decision-making authority to another person. Contrary to what many people think, Wisconsin is not a “next of kin” state, meaning that family members do not have the inherent ability to make financial or healthcare decisions on behalf of another person just by virtue of being a spouse, adult child, sibling, or other relative. As a result, it is very important for all Wisconsin residents, regardless of age or ability, to have these documents in place. If you become incapacitated (unable to make healthcare and financial decisions for yourself) and do not have POA documents executed, your family may be forced to go through the court system to establish a Legal Guardianship so they can act on your behalf. This process can be costly and lengthy.

POA for Healthcare vs. POA for Finances
There are two different types of POA documents, one that addresses healthcare decisions and one that addresses financial decisions. It is important to have both in place as each document grants limited and specific decision-making authority to the designated agent.

How do I execute a POA?
There are a couple different ways to execute a POA. One way is to hire a private attorney. The other is to use forms provided by the state of Wisconsin. These forms include all of the necessary language to create a legally binding document, so it is important to complete them fully and follow all instructions regarding proper execution. These forms are located online at dhs.wisconsin.gov. If you have questions about how to complete these forms, you can contact the Guardianship Support Center at 1-855-409-9410.

Additional Information & Support

We are here to help you and your family with a wide variety of community resource options. For assistance by phone, or to make an appointment, contact us.

(920) 448-4300 | WI Relay 711

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