How can I become my grandma's financial guardian in Alabama?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 18, 2016
Christy1978 asked...

My grandma is 86. Shes draws a VA check & SS check monthly. The majority if the time my brother gets all her money & she cnt pay her rent or buy groceries. He doesnt take it she voluntarily gives it to him but he lies to her to get it. How can I become her financial guardian,so I can,make sure she has what she needs? We live in Alabama.


Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for Caring.com.

It is expensive and time consuming to become someone's guardian. There are better alternatives for your situation. Social Security has a Representative Payee Program. This is a financial management program for SS beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their SS payments. Family members or friends are usually appointed as representatives. With this program, you open up a checking or savings account to receive your grandmother's check. The check can be direct deposited every month. You are responsible for spending the funds on behalf of your grandmother. Once a year, you need to report to SS how the money was spent. This can be done online. Contact your local Social Security office for assistance.

The VA has a similar program called the VA Fiduciary Program. The purpose is the same, to oversee the financial management of VA benefit payments. You set up a separate account and your grandmother's monthly VA benefit payments are direct deposited into this account. You can spend these funds on your grandmother's behalf. You can make a request for this service by sending your grandmother's name and file number along with your contact information to the VA Regional Office nearest you. Include the reason for your request. To find out the address of the VA Regional Office, I suggest you search online. The alternative is to call (800) 827-1000, but this can be very frustrating.