How many times have you worked with a client who is struggling to stay in their home in part because they are no longer paying bills? Sometimes other elements of maintaining a household are stable, but this lapse is putting the client at risk.

I have never had a client accept help with their finances willingly, but I keep thinking about how we can describe available services in a way that makes it easier for someone who needs them to say yes.

For one thing, I’d emphasize that clients accepting help from trained volunteers and agency staff members may define the level of help that they want. If they just want monthly assistance opening and paying bills, that’s an option. If they want help creating a budget, that’s an option. If they are ready to cede bill-paying responsibility to a representative payee and give that person the authority to sign checks on their behalf, that, too, is an option.

Twenty-one of the 24 ASAPs in MA offer a local version of the MA Money Management Program, which is overseen by Mass Home Care and supported by EOEA and AARP.

The AARP Money Management Program recruits volunteers. From their webpage: “There are many volunteer opportunities available with the Massachusetts Money Management Program, including bill payer, monthly account monitor, office assistant, outreach assistant, and special projects. The biggest need is for bill payer volunteers who work one on one with individuals.”

If you’re interested in learning what’s offered in your community but not yet connected with your local ASAP, here’s the list:

Money Management Program Directors in ASAPs are usually eager to present programs at Senior Centers! Even if the people attending aren’t in need of these services, they often know people for whom money management would be helpful—these attendees can become trusted spokespeople. Some might even want to volunteer for the program.

Stay tuned for my next blog essay in which I’ll break down the levels of help available so that you can be familiar with the vocabulary and have clarity when describing options to your clients.