How should I use the railroad retirement benefits of a person who is in a nursing home or other institution?
Priority should be given to using benefits for "current maintenance needs" of a beneficiary who is a patient in a Federal, State, or private institution because of his physical or mental incapacity. "Current maintenance" includes the usual charges the institution makes for providing care and maintenance.
You should communicate with an official of the institution or the designated State officer and arrange, if required, to pay part of the benefits to meet the charges for the beneficiary's care and support. You may not be required to use the benefits to pay maintenance charges when:
- The beneficiary's total assets are small, or
- The beneficiary's legally dependent spouse or children need to use part of the benefits for their own support, and maintenance charges are waived because of the needs of the beneficiary's family.
You are not required to use the railroad retirement benefits to pay maintenance charges when:
- The beneficiary is in a veteran's hospital, or
- The beneficiary has insurance or other assets that are being used to meet the charges.
When arranging to pay a certain amount regularly for the beneficiary's care and maintenance, you should make sure you will still have enough money left to pay for some of the things the beneficiary needs that are not customarily provided by the institution. You can find out about these things by talking or writing to the hospital superintendent, the doctor in charge, or the social worker. The following are most often needed by patients in public hospitals and may be paid from railroad retirement benefits to help them keep up their morale, self-respect, and confidence.
- Personal clothing which is clean, well fitting, and in good style.
- Supplies and articles necessary for personal grooming and care.
- Other things not supplied by the hospital such as books, and magazines.
- Eyeglasses, false teeth, hearing aids, medical and dental care.
- Transportation for trial visits to relatives or to places where the patent can be helped to recover. A little each month may be saved to pay the expenses of these visits.
- Transportation of a close relative, or the representative payee to visit the patient in the hospital. Use of benefits for transportation will be allowed when costs are reasonable and necessary and the visits are in the beneficiary's best interests.
- Supplies and equipment to help the patient learn a trade or hobby; such as materials for metal or leather work, needle-work, or furniture making.