According to AARP, as many as 7 percent of adults receiving Social Security benefits have difficulty managing their household finances.
For some, this amounts to no more than an occasional bounced check. But for others, the inability to keep track of their household finances may lead to unpaid bills, undeposited checks, cutoff utilities, bank foreclosure, or even eviction.
If nothing is done about the problem, then guardianship or institutionalization may follow.
Simple money-management issues can snowball and can result in the loss of elders’ right to make decisions about where they live, what happens to their property, and how their money is spent.
The Boston Money Management Program (BMMP) was established in 1991 to safeguard low income seniors and adults with disabilities and to help them avoid the dire consequences of ongoing financial mismanagement. The BMMP also protects seniors from financial exploitation, preserving their dignity, stability and independence.
BMMP is a free bill paying service available to qualified Metropolitan Boston residents. There are two unique services available: the Bill Payer Program and the Representative Payee Program.
Through two distinct services, the BMMP provides Boston’s most vulnerable elders and individuals with disabilities with the information and resources to remain financially independent. Upon enrollment and quarterly home visits, all BMMP clients receive education on topics such as budgeting, bill paying, security, and scams and frauds.
Furthermore, the BMMP works with the client to set up and execute a responsible and mutually agreed-upon spending plan, which includes some money set aside for savings. The resources provided by the BMMP allow clients to achieve economic security and to maintain independence and peace of mind.
The Bill Payer Program provides assistance to low-income elders and adults with disabilities who are still able to make responsible decisions about their financial affairs but may need some functional assistance with the bill-paying process. Clients in the Bill Payer program are matched with trained and supervised volunteers, who provide functional assistance to establish a budget, organize and send out mail, and balance a checkbook.
The Representative Payee Program supports elders receiving their income through Social Security. The Program is appointed by the Social Security Administration to administer the benefits of those who are not capable of making their own decisions about their financial affairs. The Boston Money Management Program (BMMP) creates a unique spending plan for each client, ensuring that rent and essential utilities are budgeted for, as well as spending money and a small amount of savings. The BMMP then pays these bills on behalf of the client each month, acting as the client’s accountant.
The BMMP provides an essential service for the individuals it serves, as the program is often our clients’ last line of defense against losing basic needs:
- Housing – late of insufficient rent or mortgage payments could result in individuals
being forced to leave the comfort and familiarity of their homes and neighborhoods
and move in to costly nursing facilities or, at worst, become homeless.
- Essential utilities – late or insufficient payments could lead to the termination of
heating, air conditioning, basic telephone service and/or electricity, putting seniors and their health at great risk. While the loss of any of the utilities would be difficult, the loss of telephone service would cut off critical links to physicians, emergency personnel and family and friends.
By the Numbers
The work of Ethos’ Boston Money Management Program would not be possible without the support of the community.
To refer an elder or disabled individual for money management services in either the Representative Payee or Bill Payer Programs, please fill out our Referral Form and submit via email to David Ross, Boston Money Management Program Manager, at email@example.com.
To learn more about volunteering in the Bill Payer Program please fill out our volunteer application or contact Kate Bancroft, Boston Money Management Program Coordinator, at 617-522-6700 x322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a financial contribution, please visit our donation page, call 617-522-6700 or email email@example.com.