If you are considering DMM services for your elderly relative, be especially careful when choosing the right individual or program. A trustworthy, competent daily money manager can be a godsend. But an incompetent or less than honest one can spell disaster.
Keep in mind that neither federal nor state governments regulate the DMM industry, so there is little oversight of these services. And don't let your guard down just because an agency is a nonprofit. Agencies can lie about nonprofit status or engage in underhanded methods of funneling fees into a for-profit company.
All this means that you must do your homework before settling on a DMM program. Here's how.
The best way to start your search is through referrals.
Once you have obtained several solid referrals for DMM programs, interview them all. Ask lots of questions about the services they provide, fees, training and supervision of managers, and insurance coverage. (For a list of questions to ask any DMM program, visit the AADMM's website at www.aadmm.com and click "Questions to Ask.")
Find out what type of insurance coverage the program has and whether it is bonded. (Being bonded means that a bonding company has secured money that is available to you if you file a claim against the DMM.) This will give you an idea of what kind of protection you have if something goes wrong.
Ask for several references from each DMM program that you are considering. Contact the references and ask lots of questions.
Your vigilance should not end once you've screened and selected a DMM program. Avoid problems and identify fraud early on by doing the following:
For help managing the care of your older relative, you may find it helpful to consult the following Nolo resources: Long-Term Care by Joseph L. Matthews (Nolo), and Social Security, Medicare, and Government Pensions, by Joseph L. Matthews and Dorothy Matthews Berman (Nolo).
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