Area IV Organizational Payee Program Helps Client Regain Independence After Life-Changing Accident
When you speak with William J. Bucy (pictured on right), the first thing he’ll often say is, “Call me Joe.” He’s that typical, 50-year-old man you might pass at the grocery store or walking down the street. He’s clean-cut, quiet and well-mannered. From looking at him, you’d never be able to tell the struggles he’s been working to overcome.
Joe used to be a carpenter and painter by trade and made a decent living. While he can’t recall everything from his life at that time, he does remember the simple joy of the work he did and the incident that changed it all.
One Tuesday, Joe was painting the outside of a building. He was on a ladder, finishing the soffit, when his world changed forever. A car backed into his ladder, and he was thrown backward. He recalls being shocked by the jolt of the ladder and reaching for a nearby power line, out of instinct, to brace himself. His reach fell short, and finding no support there, he plummeted to the pavement below.
The crash was loud and the impact louder.
While his bones mended and his bruises healed, a fog settled into Joe’s head that he couldn’t seem to shake. He struggled remembering facts, names and faces. He couldn’t recall pieces of what he had done last year or even moments before. He felt out of control and angry, and those who were close to him felt that too. Joe got divorced and shifted living from one place to the next. For a short time, he lived with his brother, who had become his legal guardian. However, as Joe recounts living in his brother’s basement, he remembers feeling insignificant and how the situation only exacerbated his stress, while driving a wedge in his relationship with his brother.
Joe eventually found his way to Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs, and he was connected to the Organizational Payee Program. The Organizational Payee Program helps clients like Joe, who receive a Social Security benefit, manage that money when they are unable to do so themselves.
Through a partnership with the Social Security Administration, Area IV arranged a dedicated account for Joe where his award benefit is deposited. Joe received a detailed budget plan with a specific tracking and savings method that includes recurring reminders to help alleviate stress and worry.
With his rent, utilities and expenses arranged directly through the Organizational Payee Program, Joe pays his expenses on time, every time. He receives checks on a weekly basis for groceries and other expenses, which allow him to manage his money more easily and have it available when he needs it. If he forgets, Joe can always call to find out when a check has been sent or cashed, if a bill has been paid, if he has enough saved for extra expenses or whatever else comes to mind.
The Organizational Payee Program provides monitoring of his account, and the staff inform him when his expenses shift. If needed, they guide him through the process of getting assistance through housing subsidies, SNAP assistance and energy assistance. The program also includes assistance with medical debt forgiveness and keeping connected with Medicaid. In short, the Organizational Payee Program helps clients remain as independent as possible, while diffusing stress between clients and their other family members.
Just ask Joe, and he’ll tell you. He is now living happily in an apartment on the south side of Lafayette, where he knows most of his neighbors and seems to be making good friends. He reports that his family relationships are on the mend. While there are still those moments when he loses track of his thoughts and struggles to remember things, he knows for certain is that he is thankful for the help of the Area IV Organizational Payee Program.