Can I legally take money for my mother's share of expenses out of her next social security check?

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 25, 2016
Sallygirl919 asked...

My mother is 94, has demensia, and named me durable poa in 2009 when she was competant. I am 71. We both have small ss checks, and I had to rent an apartment for us. It takes both checks to live.I have a sister who always wants to know where does the money go. I have become unable to care for her, so my sister took her this week. I now can no longer afford to pay the rent. Can I take her share of expenses out of her next check so I can give a 30 day notice.



Community Answers

Sallygirl919 answered...

I am not really sure. Do not want to do anything illegal


A fellow caregiver answered...

If you have a Durable POA you are legally accountable for any of your mother's assets which you use on behalf of your mother. You are your mother's TRUSTEE and this means you are entrusted to use her money for her benefit. What this means is, if you rent a place for the 2 of you to stay, you can justify using her money to pay her portion of the rent, utilities, food or other expenses for the place where you live while she is living iwth you. However, since circumstances changed and your mother is no longer living with you, while you may be able to justify paying her portion of the last month's rent out of her account in order to give the 30 day notice, from the day she is no longer living with you, you could not justify taking money out of your mother's account to pay for any utilities, food or other expenses since none of those things are being used to benefit her. If your sister is a stickler for the law, she could hire a lawyer to bring you to task for even paying the last month's rent when your mother isn't with you. This is a gray area of the law. Technically, since you had your mother's POA, you made the decision to enter into a lease for the 2 of you. Did you execute the lease on behalf of both of you, meaning, is her name on the lease too? If so, it would be pretty clear cut that you rented the place so you would have somewhere for the 2 of you to live. A court would probably rule on your behalf for the rent but not for any other expenses you might incur once she left.


Tormane answered...

Check with your local Social Security Office. You have to be very careful not to get into legal trouble. I am a POA for my mother and Representative Payee for her Social Security check. What I understand from reading the booklet given to me by SS Dept. is that I have to keep an accounting of every penny of my mother's ss check. This is to show evidence that the money was appropriately spent on her needs not mine. I wish you the best and hope you can move in with a friend or with your sister and mother.