Money MindersApril 4, 2013
Are you over age 55 and feeling overwhelmed by managing your bills? Would you like someone to balance your bank statement to your check register? Do you need help creating and meeting a monthly budget? Do your physical limitations cause you problems when trying to pay your bills?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the Money Minders Program may be right for you! Money Minders matches well-trained, highly skilled, bonded (insured) volunteers with clients who need help getting their monthly bills paid in a timely and accurate manner. Volunteers help sort mail, create a basic budget, prepare (but not sign) checks, and balance the check register to the bank statement. Money Minders can help you stay on top of your bills and bring peace of mind to the program participant.
Money Minders is a FREE service for people 55 and older who meet program guidelines of low/moderate income and assets. Donations to support the program are always welcomed.
Since Money Minders volunteers do not exercise any control over client funds, program participants must have the ability to direct the volunteerâ€™s work.
To learn more participating in the Money Minders Program OR to become a Money Minders Volunteer, call 1-877-353-3771
Here are more details:
Thanks to a generous grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation, the Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging is pleased to be able to offer the Money Minders Program statewide.
The Money Minders Program matches trained, bonded volunteers with adults 55 and older who need help establishing a monthly budget and ensuring that all bills get paid in a timely and accurate manner. The program is free for clients who meet low to moderate income and asset guidelines and other eligibility criteria.
Who Needs Money Minders?
There are many older adults who need assistance with managing their bills and checkbook for a variety of reasons. Some have experienced health issues that impact their ability to physically write checks, maybe because of blindness, severe arthritis or Parkinsonâ€™s. Others may have recently lost a spouse who always paid the bills, leaving the other confused about how to manage a checkbook and a monthly budget. Still, many others are seeking peace of mind and safety in a world of significant pressure from phone, mail and in-person solicitations, frauds and scams. Some folks are just having a harder time managing details, but are still fully competent to make financial deicsions. In all of these instances, our volunteers can help older adults maintain their independence while ensuring that bills are paid on time, are not paid multiple times and that important periodic payments, like property taxes and insurance, are tracked and managed. Through it all, our volunteers help people avoid financial exploitation and also help them connect to other services they may need as they go through the aging process.
The goal of the program is to give clients help with these types of financial matters so that they can continue to live independently. Help is provided in the least intrusive way to preserve client dignity and privacy, and there are program safeguards that will protect the clientâ€™s money, the volunteer, and the sponsoring agency.
How Does Money Minders Work
Our corps of trained volunteers helps clients sort bills, establish a budget and prepare (but not sign) checks to pay their monthly expenses. Bill paying volunteers meet with clients in their homes, or another mutually agreed upon place, to assist them with their bills. These volunteers do not exercise control over any client's funds, and all transactions are made from a designated account with a running balance of less than $3,500.
Other volunteers have been trained as auditors to periodically review the financial activity in each client's designated account to monitor for inconsistencies that might indicate a problem within the program.
Volunteers in the Money Minders Program provide 3 references that are checked, they are interviewed in depth and receive criminal background checks. All volunteers receive in-service training and understand and respect the program policy of not taking control of a clientâ€™s finances.
The Money Minders Program Coordinator serves as staff
for the program which is part of â€“ and receives oversight from â€“ the Community
Services Department at the Area Agency on Aging. Money Minders is guided by an Advisory
Council made up of professionals from the public, private and non-profit
sectors, as well as volunteers in the program.
Money Mindersâ€™ Advisory Council
Each Area Agency on Aging has a local advisory council that meets quarterly. A statewide council is forming to assist agencies promote and sustain the program. The purpose of the advisory council is:
- To provide support and guidance for the program.
- To review and make recommendations on rules, policies, and procedures.
- To give the program credibility and recognition in the community.
- To help generate fund raising ideas and suggestions for the program.
- To increase public awareness of program.
serve as a link to community services for program volunteers and clients.
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