How Our Office Works for You!
Once we are appointed by Social Security to serve as your Representative Payee to manage your Social Security benefit, we work with you to develop a customized budget based on your income and expenses. We are glad to work with caseworkers and other persons you authorize to assist us in managing your finances. We send copies of your estimated budget and quarterly account ledgers at your request.
We schedule regular bills and rents to be mailed by the third of the month after verifying we receive your deposit. Our goal is to budget rents for delivery by the 1st whenever possible. We estimate utility and other fluctuating bills to be paid when the actual bill is received by our office.
We issue re-loadable debit cards for your grocery and/or spending money. The amount and load schedule depends on your personalized budget.
We try to build savings into your budget for Christmas, birthdays, clothing twice a year, summer entertainment, and emergencies.
As a Non-Profit Organizational Payee, we are authorized by Social Security to collect a fee for our service. This fee is set by Social Security and is used to cover our operating expenses. For most clients, this fee is currently $45 monthly. There is also an initial bank charge of $19 for your check stock.
Our phone hours are Monday through Thursday between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. If we are unable to answer your call, please leave a detailed message with your telephone number, and we will return your call as soon as possible. For your convenience, you may also mail, e-mail, or fax your questions or requests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What if I need to replace my card because it is lost or stolen?
You need to contact Card Member Services ASAP at (888) 863-0681 to order a new card. Be sure to confirm your mailing address is updated.
For other information about the Focus card fees or how to use your card for free:
Please refer to the linked Fee Schedule
Q. I moved, what do I need to do?
Notify our office right away! Most rents are scheduled to be released on the 25th. We REQUIRE at least 5 business days to process a rent change to ensure proper procedure. If you fail to report changes in a timely manner, you run the risk of rent being paid to the landlord on record.
Q. What information do you need for a rental agreement?
All rental agreements need to include client name, phone number, physical address and mailing address (if different), move-in date, rent amount, deposits if any, utilities to pay (OR utilities included if renting a room), landlord name, landlord's mailing address, and phone number. The agreement must be signed and dated by the client and landlord. Click here for our Address Change Form
Q. I’m homeless/traveling, what do I need to do?
Monthly verbal contact is REQUIRED. You MUST call the office to confirm the following information - Name, Date of Birth, Mailing Address, Phone/Message Number, and Any Changes.
*Failure to report could result in holding your pay for contact.
Q. When will I get my extra allotments that Helping Hands saves for me throughout the year?
The approximate schedule for clothing and holidays, provided that all required receipts are accounted for, your account is in good standing, and your savings have accumulated is:
- Spring Clothing Allowance (Receipts Required) – Late March
- Summer Entertainment – Late June
- Fall Clothing Allowance (Receipts Required) – Late Sept
- Christmas – Late Nov
- Birthday – Approximately 1-2 weeks before your birthday
Q. Can I make an extra request?
We try to max personal spending whenever possible, and however, if there are accumulated savings that are not earmarked, a request can be made "Receipts Required", provided that all required receipts are accounted for, and your account is in good standing.
Q. How long does it take to process an extra request?
Please allow at least 5 business days to process your extra request. If approved, the funds should post to your next personal spending allotment.
Q. Why do I need to turn in receipts?
For your protection, the Social Security Administration REQUIRES our financial accountability.
Q. What receipts to I need to keep and turn in?
All clothing allowance allotments and any approved extra requests.
Q. What if I lost my receipts?
If receipts are not available, you may submit to our office a written statement with the date, the amount received, place of purchase, and items bought.
Your back pay will follow the same policy and procedures as any other request. Your receipts must be in order. We limit cash requests for personal purchases to $500 receipts required. For big-ticket items such as furniture or appliances, we prefer to pay the store directly from an invoice.
Q. My check didn't come today; will you send a new one?
We will gladly replace a missing check once it has been missing for 5 business days. This allows time, in case of a postal error, to correct itself and save you the stop payment fee of $35.
Q. Can I get a copy of my ledger to see my account activity?
Yes! We are able to provide quarterly ledger reports upon request.
Q. Can I get a copy of my estimated budget?
Yes! We provide estimated budgets by request, and any time there is a major change in your budget.
Q. Where is Helping Hands located?
We are a private office. All services are provided by phone, fax, email, website, or mail.
Q. When can I call to speak with a Client Service Representative?
Our normal phone hours are Monday through Thursday from 9AM to 3PM.
Q. How long should it take before I get a response from Helping Hands?
Calls are returned in the order received. We return calls as soon as possible (usually the same day) when you provide good contact information. Please keep in mind some phone days are heavier than others.
Q. Why didn't I get my call returned?
We do our best to return within two days. If you did not leave a clear name and return number, we will not be able to return your call. Also, repeat calling or verbally abusive messages will not be returned. If you haven't heard from us within two business days, please call back.
*Be sure your voicemail is set up in case you miss our call.
Q. What information will I need to report to Helping Hands to stay in compliance?
We've compiled a list of your Reporting Responsibilities. Please click on the link.
Q. What if I fail to report changes?
Failure to report a change could result in an overpayment, or possibly your benefit being suspended until in compliance.