WHAT IS THE REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE PROGRAM?
The goal of the Freestore Foodbank Representative Payee program is to keep the most vulnerable from becoming homeless and provide them with basic necessities, while supporting self-sufficiency and continued independence. We ensure that our customers, who are already enrolled in benefits programs, are prioritizing their financial responsibilities, such as housing and utilities, and then work with them to manage their budget. The collaborative process is important, as good communication helps to build trust and respect.
Once a month, customers can visit the Customer Connection Center to meet with their payee and receive their discretionary checks. They also have the option of picking up their check at any Fifth Third Bank location, but are then required to meet with their Freestore Foodbank Representative Payee.
HOW THE REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE PROGRAM WORKS
We focus on five specific areas:
- Budgeting: Preparation of a monthly budget and disbursement of funds.
- Banking: Overseeing and reviewing customers’ financial activities and records.
- Linkage, Referral and Advocacy: Working with landlords, Social Security Administration representatives and others whose relationships affect a customer’s finances.
- Consulting with Case Managers: Working with the customer and their case manager or aiding the customer in obtaining a case manager, if needed.
- Crisis Intervention: Taking direct steps on behalf of the customer outside the Freestore Foodbank to address emergency conditions or situations.
WHO ARE OUR CUSTOMERS?
The Freestore Foodbank Representative Payee Program provides budgeting and financial management services to individuals who are unable to manage their income and meet basic needs. Customers may have mental health or physical disability issues, or they may be seniors who need case management.
“Initially, I didn’t like that other people were in charge of my money,” said one Payee customer. “But in the next year, they taught me not only how to budget, but how to set goals for my future and work toward independence.”
For many of these individuals, the Social Security Administration will require an appointed payee. If a family member or other responsible person known to that individual is not available, the Freestore Foodbank Representative Payee Program can fill this need.
WHY THE FREESTORE FOODBANK?
The Freestore Foodbank offers customers access to many additional services and programs, including the Food Room, Direct Rent, Back on Track, Cincinnati COOKS!, Second Chance Legal Clinic and more. We have been successfully running the Representative Payee Program since the 1980s and serve hundreds of customers annually.
For more information, please contact Tonya Jallow at 513-357-4823.
Cincinnati Health Network
Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services
Mental Health Recovery Services Board
Social Security Administration