Are Many Retirees with Dementia Lacking Financial Help?

Here's one source of assistance

401k, retirement, dementiaA little reassurance goes a long way.

Memory loss is stressful enough, and shouldn’t be compounded by the financial angst that too often accompanies cognitive decline.

A new issue brief from the Center for Retirement Research takes aim at the problem, noting that “Retirees with dementia need help managing their money to prevent mistakes, fraud, and abuse.”

CRR points to the Social Security Administration’s Representative Payee Program as one source of help, “which allows a designated person to receive and manage a retiree’s benefit check.”

Social Security’s Representative Payment Program provides financial management for the Social Security and SSI payments of beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their Social Security or SSI payments.

Generally, SSA looks for family or friends to serve as representative payees. When friends or family are not able to serve as payees, Social Security looks for qualified organizations to be representative payees.

Sadly, the Center notes that among people over age 70 with dementia, only 9 percent have a payee.

“However, the vast majority of those without a payee have other potential sources of help, often a family member,” the brief explains. “Those without any help are more likely to be isolated from family, less educated, and non-white.

“In other words, those who are economically vulnerable in the traditional sense are also more likely to have little outside help and be vulnerable to financial mismanagement. Having a strong community, as indicated by involvement with a Catholic Church or residence in a small county, is associated with being more likely to have help.”

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