Friday, December 30, 2016

You'd think if you called to pay a bill, someone would take your information and allow you to pay it, right?


One of the biggest problems I encountered while helping out with mom's care was the bills we had to pay. Because of the privacy acts, no one will talk to anyone who is not authorized. Mom was so forgetful, it was difficult to have her remember to call a credit card company and add my name. Sometimes she was compliant, but most of the time she would say, "Sandra, I can pay my own bills. Why are you trying to get them sent to you?"

Several times bills were never delivered to me. Then I pretended to be her on the phone to change it myself, because she would not cooperate. For some reason she was always paranoid and thinking we were taking her money. FYI-If you ever want bills sent to you, memorize these answers:

  • Their social security number
  • The account number and the 3 or 4 digit security number
  • Their date of birth
  • Answers to their secure questions, like: Where were they born? Mother's maiden name etc.
  • Their address (might seem simple, but remember if they moved you need to know it)
I can't tell you how many times I had to change things. Dad's pension, which was a small amount of money, was auto-deposited into her bank account. She moved. I needed to get a letter from the pension place stating how much she got monthly. They refused to send it. Her address from her home with dad had never been changed. It took me 3 months to get this letter. I tried everything. They had to mail her a letter and she lost it. Without the letter I could not get the code they sent for me to go
onto the website and make the address and contact changes.  She was supposed to have a "pin number" for whenever she talked to them. She could not remember it. I tried everything: Her wedding date, dad's social security number, etc. Nothing worked. Finally she got the letter (thank God for my sister finding it) and I was able to make the changes needed.

The bank we had most of her money in was ridiculous. I made sure my name was on all of her accounts. I moved, and I wanted the statements to be sent to me so I could make sure she had enough money to pay the automatic bill payments. Even though MY NAME was on the accounts, they would not let me make changes without a written letter and HER signature.

Keep good records. Don't throw away anything you might need to refer to again. 

I started getting bills from collection agencies. I never saw any original bills (ie. hospital) I also did not remember mom being in the hospital for hundreds of dollars. So I called the collection agency and asked for an explanation of the bills. They refused to talk to me. I EVEN HAD a P.O.A. with the 
hospital and proof that they could discuss her care and bills with me.  I told them to check with the main hospital and if they could not speak to me, they would not get paid because I took care of mom's money. This was a bureaucratic nightmare. This happened more than once. Get your name on the hospital bills as well. I had mom's social security and VA letters all sent to me. If you do this, it is really hard to ever change the name on it again. (i.e.. VA-fiduciary)