The agency responsible for managing personal allowance must keep a ledger (or its equivalent) to record all transactions. The ledger should correctly show all deposits, withdrawals, transfers, expenditures and interest and must include a brief description of each transaction. The balance on the ledger must always match the total of cash and cash equivalents in the residence.
Sometimes there is more than one ledger for a person. The agency may keep one ledger to record benefit and personal allowance transactions, and the residence may keep another to record transactions for the cash on hand. The person should initial entries on the residential ledger at the time of transaction, or on a record attached to the PEP at least monthly, unless the PEP indicates that the person cannot understand what initialing these records means.
The person, their parents, guardians, advocates, representative payee and the benefit-paying agencies must be able to review all records of personal allowance accounts, including ledgers, upon request. Copies of the ledger must be sent to the representative payee quarterly; copies of the ledger from non-residential providers should also be sent to the residence quarterly.
If the agency manages money for multiple individuals, it must perform an annual audit of at least 10% of the personal accounts for individuals in family care homes and 25% of personal accounts for individuals in other types of residences for whom the director is representative payee or for whom they handle money. The audits must demonstrate compliance with the personal allowance regulations.
Some agencies use electronic spreadsheets instead of paper ledgers. Each person has a spreadsheet with a different page for every month. Spreadsheets can be set up to automatically calculate the personal allowance balance after each transaction and carry over balances from month to month. This helps eliminate mathematical errors. Typing entries, rather than handwriting, also makes it easy for auditors to see how the funds were spent.
When the ledger is electronic, the page for the month must be printed at the end of the month and the individual must initial and date the spreadsheet if initialing has meaning for them. This shows that the person received the amounts reflected on the spreadsheet. Alternatively, the person may sign a separate monthly acknowledgment of their approval of the ledger transactions maintained electronically. This may eliminate the need to print the actual ledger.
If your agency does not have an electronic spreadsheet format, you may contact your local RSFO for a sample ledger to use or use the sample family care ledger and instructions on the OPWDD website.
Receipts are necessary to document spending from the personal allowance. The receipts should correspond to the ledger entries and should clearly show:
- The item or service purchased
- The amount paid
- The vendor
- The date of purchase
Receipts are required when agency staff spend personal allowance funds. Each purchase must have a receipt and the ledger item should have a reference number leading to the pertinent receipts. If a receipt is not obtained for a purchase made on a person’s behalf, agencies may be required to reimburse the person for the amount spent.
Receipts are required for all group purchases. The receipt should show all the items above and list the number of people in the group. It should show that the amount each person spent is equal to their use of the purchase (the amount of each person’s payment for the group purchase must also be reflected in their respective ledgers). Each person’s ledger must have a copy of the receipt attached.
If a staff member uses personal allowance to buy a routine recreation-related item under $15, a receipt is not required, but staff must make a notation in the ledger for that small expense (e.g., “movies – name of film - $10.50”).
Agencies may require receipts at their discretion for all purchases made by a staff person. Agency policies may be more restrictive than the regulations; you should refer to your agency’s written procedures to ensure compliance.
When a person is spending their own funds in an amount consistent with their money management assessment, receipts are not required. The entry on the ledger should be “$XX.XX for spending” and the person should initial the entry. While receipts are not required for purchases made by the person, it is a best practice to encourage the person to obtain receipts and give them to the residence for safe-keeping in case the item needs to be returned or if proof of purchase may be needed for another purpose (such as a warranty). It is important to remember that the person cannot be given more money than they have been determined capable of independently handling in their MMA.
When a retailer issues a reward for purchases that can be redeemed for cash, merchandise, or other considerations, that reward is the sole property of the person who bought the original item. The rewards must be recorded on the ledger by entering the coupon or certificate/card number as part of the transaction and the reward must be attached to the receipt. Reward coupons, gift certificates/cards and points may only be used by the person who earned them. If the person does not use the reward, the reward must be allowed to expire. Unused rewards must remain attached to the purchase receipts.
If a reward is missing or lost, the agency staff should contact the store or the chain’s toll-free number to determine if it has been redeemed. If the reward was used and there is no evidence that the reward was used for the person’s benefit (for example, shown on later receipts), the agency must reimburse the person for the value of the reward. If the agency cannot confirm whether it was used, the agency must reimburse the person for the value of the reward.
Personal allowance audits should include verifying that any rewards were documented properly and used for the person’s benefit or allowed to expire. Agency staff who do not follow the requirements above are in direct violation of OPWDD’s responsibility to safeguard the personal property of the individuals in their care.
Quarterly Accounting Requirement
At least once a quarter, personal allowance accounting must show the location of the personal allowance money. It should detail:
- Amount of cash and cash equivalents at the person's residence and day program
- Amount of money in the person-owned account
- Amount in the agency bank account
If the quarterly accounting is part of the agency’s overall record, the accounting must show personal allowance money separate from other funds the agency controls.
Agencies must maintain complete records documenting all transactions involving personal allowance for four (4) years.