Personal Finances and Personal Needs Allowance Accounts


Managing your client's care and ensuring their personal needs are met as a Guardian of the Person is a crucial role that you will fulfill with care and compassion. It's important to note that you are not responsible for their assets and money.

As a Volunteer Guardian, you may assist in managing their limited monthly allowance of $50 and ensuring it is used appropriately for their personal needs. Occasionally, there may be a large sum of money that requires attention. Have no fear-we will guide you if this situation arises. 

The $50 monthly Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) is allocated from their income for discretionary spending. This can cover items such as snacks, haircuts, and personal preferences like soda or cigarettes. The rep payee manages the account, but as the Guardian, it's important for you to be aware of how your client spends their money and if there is any accumulation. You can request a balance update during the Quarterly Care Conferences.

If your client requires personal items, you can communicate with the nursing home to make the necessary purchases on their behalf. Alternatively, you may inquire with the business office about making purchases and seeking reimbursement, although this is not mandatory. As a Guardian, you are not obligated to buy anything for your client using your own money. However, you can guide and facilitate their spending. If they exhaust their monthly PNA on small items and have unmet needs, please reach out to the Volunteer Coordinator, as we can provide gift cards for specific purchases.

Medicaid conducts annual reviews and will notify you as the Authorized Representative if there are funds that need to be spent. Some individuals may spend very little or none of their Personal Needs Allowance, which can potentially impact their Medicaid eligibility if their savings exceed $2000.

In such cases, collaboration with the Social Worker, business office, nurse, and activities director is crucial to finding appropriate ways to spend down accumulated funds. It's important to note that any unspent funds in their possession during the annual Medicaid renewal will either be reimbursed to the state of Ohio or utilized to cover their care costs, resulting in their unenrollment from Medicaid.

Here are some ideas to serve your client's needs and spend down their savings. Please consult with the facility staff to explore the possibilities:

  1. Pre-need funeral arrangements: Check if any additional funds are needed for an existing fully paid plan due to increased costs.
  2. Clothing: Discuss with the facility about ordering appropriate seasonal clothing, undergarments, shoes, slippers, and other essentials.
  3. Mobility, vision, or hearing devices: Assess if your client requires assistive devices like wheelchairs, walkers, lift chairs, hospital beds, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or other aids.
  4. Therapy services: Consider accessing physical, occupational, respiratory, or speech therapy services, mental health counseling, or even massage therapy.
  5. Entertainment: Explore options like televisions, radios, DVD players, books, magazines, puzzles, tablets, laptops, arts and crafts supplies, or items specifically designed for individuals with dementia. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator for assistance if needed.
  6. Food: Work with the facility to arrange meal deliveries from your client's preferred restaurant based on dietary restrictions. You can also consider providing monthly birthday treats or occasional treats for the residents or staff as a gesture of gratitude.
  7. Special Activities funding: Collaborate with the Social Worker to explore opportunities for musical performers, therapy animal services, art therapy, or other enriching activities. Additionally, consider supporting the facility's gardening initiatives, bird feeders, or other community-oriented projects.

Remember, the funds in the Personal Needs Allowance or any "found" bank account belong to your client and should be spent for their benefit and comfort. As seen in the list above, the money can be used in a way that serves your client's needs while also benefiting other residents. However, it's important to note that misuse of funds, such as giving money away or purchasing items for others, is not permitted.

Any individual item purchased for your client is considered part of their personal effects and will be passed on to their next of kin upon their passing.

Your dedication to their well-being is truly commendable. Should you have any further questions or require guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team. Together, we can provide the best possible care for those under your guardianship.