Last week the LTC news was abuzz with the story of a Florida woman accused of misappropriating more than $45,000 dollars of her elderly mother’s Social Security and Veterans benefits.
Unfortunately, this is something that we encounter more often than we would like in the LTC industry. We want to take this opportunity to remind our clients that when faced with suspected misuse of a resident’s social security or other government benefits, there are procedural steps that a provider can take to help protect the resident.
- Talk to the resident about the suspected financial abuse and see if the resident is able/willing to take action, such as filing a police report. While this may be a difficult conversation to have, it can prove to be very worthwhile in protecting a resident’s assets and ensuring their access to the highest quality of care.
- Report suspected financial abuse to Adult Protective Services (APS). APS will take the necessary steps to investigate cases of exploitation on behalf of the resident. For more information about what APS can offer the National Adult Protective Services Association can serve as a valuable resource.
- Alert the Social Security Administration to the suspected financial abuse. If you believe that the Representative Payee has misused the benefits being issued for the beneficiary you can contact the OIG Fraud hotline to report allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse concerning SSA programs and operations.
- Consider taking legal action against the bad acting party. At this stage it is best to take careful stock and consideration of cost-benefit analysis. If you have questions about whether or not litigation is the best course of action reach out to us – we would be happy to work with you and strategize the best next steps.
- Investigate your state’s Medicaid regulations if the resident is a Medicaid recipient. Some states have specific statutes that authorize legal action against a bad actor who failing to remit the resident’s patient liability toward the cost of their care.