TN 29 (02-03)
GN 00502.160 Additional Development/Considerations When an Institution is Involved
The appointment of an institution as payee requires special handling because the institution is typically the beneficiary's primary creditor. Some States have enacted legislation limiting the instances where a State or private institution may act as the manager of a patient's funds.
2. Pennsylvania State Mental Institutions
In Vecchione, a Federal court ruled unconstitutional the Pennsylvania law permitting State revenue agents to act as statutory guardians and administer patient funds without court appointment. The decision prohibits State revenue agents or any other official of these institutions from disbursing funds for care and maintenance (i.e., the basic expenses of food, clothing, and shelter, etc.) of a patient. The official can only administer funds for personal needs expenses.
The guardian officer is the official who has the responsibility for the funds of patients/residents who have been preliminarily determined to be incompetent and to ensure that the patients' financial affairs are managed in the patients' best interests. The officer cannot use the money for care and maintenance expenses unless appointed legal guardian by a court.
Before you appoint an institution as payee, be sure there are no qualified payees outside the institution who might better serve the beneficiary's interests. Do not overlook family members who demonstrate interest in the beneficiary, even though they do not have custody.
1. Pennsylvania State Mental Institutions
If there is no better-qualified potential payee, appoint the guardian officer as payee pending appointment as legal guardian.
CAUTION: If the guardian officer is not appointed legal guardian or if the beneficiary is not found to be legally incompetent, initiate change of payee development immediately.
NOTE: A guardian officer who is not a legal guardian cannot fully exercise the responsibilities of a payee.
2. DVA Hospitals
If no other qualified payee candidate is available and the beneficiary is a patient in a DVA hospital, solicit a payee application from the hospital director.