ASNP Update

Listening to Eric Skidmore raise the issue again, I realized we all need to be careful.  Eric is the Supervisor in the Office of SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Representative Payee Policy at the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, Maryland.  His group writes the POMS (Program Operations Manual System) sections on resources, income and state supplementation.  The POMS is the manual for Social Security workers to follow in regards to the SSI program.  

The first time I listened to Eric speak on the concerns regarding reimbursement was at Stetson Law School's Special Needs Trust Conference in October 2011.  This month Eric spoke to us at the Academy of Special Needs Planners annual conference in Memphis, Tennessee.  Eric reiterated the Administration's position that if a Trust reimburses anyone who pays for "anything" for a person receiving SSI they will consider the payment to the third party as in-kind income (not In Kind Support and Maintenance) to the beneficiary.

While this must be one of the most absurd positions I have heard the Administration taking, it was a repeat from 5 months earlier.  So, we cannot reimburse someone who buys an item or service for a person on SSI.  What was the suggested alternative?  Eric said to pay for the good or service directly to a vendor, or have someone use a credit card and then pay the credit card bill directly.  Why paying someone's credit card should be treated differently than paying the person directly is befuddling.  Eric's response in October and then again this month was "we are aware of the problem and we are working on it." We struggle getting retailers to accept our "third party" checks and not everyone has (or should have) a credit card.  

Until the Administration adopts an official policy, our staff will continue to work with beneficiaries on how their funds can be utilized without potentially jeopardizing their SSI.

-Travis Finchum, Esq.
Co-Trustee, Guardian Trust

Travis was a speaker at the 6th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Special Needs Planners March 9-12, 2012 in Memphis, TN.  The session featured speakers from all over the United States who led a discussion about what to do when the bank no longer wants to serve as Trustee of a Special Needs Trust.


  1. Eric also mentioned that he would be open to working with ASNP before his team at SSA issued new POMS. We should take him up on that by putting together a presentation of real life examples of how things work in our real world of trust creation and administration. David Lillesand, Esq.


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