What Does a Protective Payee Do?
2/28/2013 10:28 AM
Julia and Lorey have served the community as Protective Payees at Hope House for many years. But what exactly does a Protective Payee do?
Hope House’s Protective Payee Program provides financial oversight, budget counseling, and supportive case management for individuals with severe mental illness and other disabilities. In 2012, we served a total of 48 households through this program. It wouldn’t have been possible without our payees, Julia and Lorey!
What is a typical day like for a payee? “Every day is different,” Lorey shared with a smile. Every client has different needs, and some face more challenges than others. At Hope House, payees do more than just write checks—they keep clients on track for success. That could mean anything from making medical appointments, taking clients grocery shopping, or just listening when a client is having a bad day. Julia and Lorey meet with their clients regularly—most on a weekly basis. This includes appointments at Hope House, as well as home visits, which are also very useful in monitoring a client’s health. In addition to weekly visits, Julia and Lorey are available by phone if their clients have any concerns. It’s critical to provide these supportive services along with careful financial management in order for clients to maintain housing, maintain sobriety, and otherwise live a healthy life.
When every day is different, some days will be more challenging than others. Lorey explained that for some clients, she is the only support they have—they have no family or friends to help them stay on track and influence positive choices in their day to day lives. These clients may have trouble maintaining sobriety, or building healthy relationships. It can be very challenging to be that singular support; some need an array of positive influences and options in order to be successful.
But for others, the support of a Protective Payee has been that missing link. For Julia’s client, Alicia*, the Payee Program was exactly what she needed. Alicia battled many years of addiction, and quickly spent her income to support her habit, rather than her children or her health. She came to Hope House for help after being sober for one month, determined to turn her life around. With Julia in charge of creating her weekly and monthly budgets, she made sure that bills were paid on time, groceries were stocked, and children were cared for. Alicia didn’t have to worry about spending her money on her addiction. Two years later, Alicia is a huge success. She has stayed sober, maintained permanent housing, obtained a part time job, and has improved her relationship with her children. Julia stated that she took advantage of the resources that Hope House provided and used them to make the best possible choices for her life.
Both Julia and Lorey remark that these are the most rewarding moments of working as a Payee. Knowing that they have played a role in the success of another person in their community, and “just being able to help” is what makes it so worth it. We are lucky to have such compassionate and caring staff as Lorey and Julia.
But the Protective Payee Program is not only a rewarding job—it’s an extremely valuable asset to the community. “It does an amazing job of keeping clients housed,” Julia explained, “because of the case management we offer. Our Payee Program addresses the reasons that clients struggle with budgeting, and empowers them to be successful and independent.”
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*Name changed for privacy.