Area 2 - Financial Status/Money Management


Due to mood swings and impulsive behavior, Sam often buys things he doesn’t need and runs out of money before the end of the month. When this occurs, Sam is unable to meet his basic needs. Also, due to low self-esteem and the need to feel liked and appreciated by others, Sam has difficulty saying no to his roommates when they ask for loans or gifts of money. This further strains his ability to meet his basic needs with his limited income.

Due to lack of initiative and limited verbal expression, Leonard often does not respond to important letters or requests for information from SSA regarding his application for benefits. Leonard opens the letters and reads them, but does not act on them or inform his PSC that he has received them. This is a problem because if Leonard does not respond to directives from SSA, his application for benefits will likely be denied, despite the fact that he needs and qualifies for them.

Due to lack of motivation and feelings of hopelessness, Gary makes no attempt to budget his limited income and simply spends until the money runs out. This usually happens by the second week of the month. Gary then begins borrowing money from friends, panhandling, and staying at the homes of acquaintances due to lack of funds. According to Gary, people who loan him money or provide him with free housing start feeling used after a while, leading to fights and arguments. Gary says, “I burned a lot of bridges that way.”

Due to fear of abandonment and concern that others will stop liking her, Sandra feels compelled to loan or give her housemates money every month even though she can’t afford to. This is a problem because Sandra is resentful and frustrated with her inability to stop “buying friends,” and because giving money to others leaves Sandra unable to meet her own needs. Sandra says, “I want to say ‘no’ but I just don’t know how.”

Due to impulsivity and disorganized thinking, Valerie was unable to provide for her basic needs despite receiving SSI benefits. As a result, her FSP was appointed as her representative payee. This alleviated some of her financial problems and helped ensure that most of her basic needs would get met. However, Valerie often enters the clinic demanding significantly more money than is budgeted in her IRP. When Valerie’s demands cannot be met, she becomes extremely agitated and hostile towards others, and more invested in her delusion that money is being stolen from her account. This is a problem because Valerie’s anger and feelings of suspicion tend to negatively affect her relationship with her PSC and distract her from working on her recovery goals.

During both manic and depressive episodes, Ronald engages in impulsive spending. When Ronald is manic, he spends large amounts of money on business ventures he is planning. In February, for example, Ronald spent over $300 on custom stationery, business cards, and T-shirts for a business idea he abandoned 2 weeks later. During depressive episodes, Ronald spends impulsively in an attempt to cheer himself up. Either way, the end result is that Ronald runs out of money and cannot provide for his basic needs.

Due to disorganized thinking, trouble concentrating, and poverty of thought, Neil is unable to budget his money or use his SSI income to meet his basic needs. Neil's utilities were recently disconnected due to non-payment, and he reports going for long periods without buying food. As a result of these impairments, his FSP has been appointed as his representative payee. Although this will help ensure that Neil's basic needs are met, thought disturbances still interfere with his ability to spend his discretionary income (P&I) in ways that are beneficial to him.

Judith receives $854 per month in SSI benefits. Due to impulsivity and trouble concentrating, Judith makes no attempt to budget her limited income and often runs out of money early in the month, leaving her dependent upon her parents and others for assistance in order to meet her basic needs. Judith reports that her mother has to assist her with budgeting.

Nicole does a reasonably good job prioritizing expenses and using her money wisely. She pays recurring bills, buys food, and pays her portion of the rent every month before spending on discretionary items. Unfortunately, Nicole is strapped with a large amount of credit card debt she ran up in the past, at a time her symptoms were less well-controlled. Due to lack of motivation, anxiety, and trouble concentrating, Nicole has made no effort to pay off this debt or explore options for reducing or eliminating it. It continues to be an ongoing source of stress for her.

Beverly receives SSI of $866 per month and has subsidized housing, so her income is adequate to meet her basic needs. However, due to difficulty concentrating and a lack of organizational skills, Beverly has a history of spending her money carelessly, without considering future needs and expenses. As a result, she ran out of money early in the month and was unable to provide for her basic needs. As a result, she was required to have a rep payee (currently her FSP). Although this provides a short-term solution, it has the effect of solidifying her dependence on the system, and makes it difficult for her to acquire the skills and experience she will need to regain control of her income.

Due to impulsivity and disorganized thinking, Juanita makes no attempt to budget her money. She spends all of her SSI funds early in the month, without prioritizing her needs or considering future expenses. As a result, she runs out of money before her next check arrives, and cannot provide for her basic needs during the last 2 weeks of the month.

Jeremy's money management skills are difficult to assess, as he has no source of income. Jeremy worked until the end of last year, when he was fired for excessive absences. He applied for SSI benefits 2 months ago, but is still in the process of supplying additional documentation to SSA. Because Jeremy lost his job due to symptoms of mental illness (see Area 5 below) and must rely on his FSP to subsidize his housing, an impairment due to mental illness is found in this area.

Due to paranoia and delusional thinking, Robert often suspects that others are trying to cheat or mislead him, even when no real threat is present. As a result, Robert becomes defensive when asked for information, making it difficult for him to convey and receive information from others. This is especially true when Robert is trying to communicate with someone he doesn't know well, or a person he can't see (e.g., when talking with an SSA worker over the phone).


All PHI has been de-identified per HIPAA Privacy Rule