The Breakthrough House Representative Payee Program provides payee services for persons with mental illness that are receiving SSDI and/or SSI, or a VA monthly benefit.

At one time, it was estimated that the number of persons with mental illness in Topeka was at least twice what you would expect to find in a city of this size. While that number may have decreased with the departure of the Menninger Clinic, there are indicators that the population is still a significant one.  Many who suffer from severe mental illness find it beneficial to have a payee handle their benefits, to ensure rent and utilities are paid each month, as well as other important bills such as insurance premiums and medical co-pays.  Having a payee also relieve a person of the added anxiety and stress that dealing with money and bills sometimes brings on.

About the Representative Payee Program

Breakthrough House, Inc. is authorized by the Social Security Administration to be a Representative Payee Organization, and as such is authorized to offer payee services to consumers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  The Social Security Adminstration (SSA) determines who needs someone to manage a person's benefits for them, so that is the first place to start if someone may need payee services.

The Breakthrough House Representative Payee Program

After the SSA has determined an individual needs a representative payee, a beneficiary may choose Breakthrough House, Inc. (BTH) as their payee from among a SSA-provided list of qualified organizations.  Per the BTH mission, all payee consumers are required to have a mental illness diagnosis that is their primary reason for their disability.  An application must be submitted to the BTH Payee Program Director.  Upon acceptance into the BTH Payee Program, a bank account will be opened solely for that new consumer, into which their benefit payments are directly deposited and from which payments are made on their behalf by the Breakthrough House, Inc. Payee Program staff.  Together, the Payee and the Payee Consumer develop a budget that will ensure the Payee Consumer's basic needs for housing, food, medication and other life necessities are being met.  The Payee manages the Payee Consumer's finances accordingly.  The Payee works together with the Payee Consumer, and their case manager or social worker, as a team. All Payee Consumers are encouraged to acquire and maintain contact with a case manager, since the Payee Program is not a case management program.  However, assistance is provided to Payee Consumers, as needed, with annual recertification of eligibility for food stamps, Medicaid, LIEAP applications, and other benefits, when there is no case manager assigned to the Payee Consumer. 

It is a major goal of the BTH Representative Payee Program to help each Payee Consumer learn the financial and money-handling skills sufficiently, so a payee is no longer required.  Basically, it is our goal to put our Payee Program "out of business due to no need for services".  BTH strives to help each consumer become independent, and capable of making sound money-related decisions.

Where Do I Apply?

1.  First, contact the Social Security Adminstration in Topeka at 1-888-327-1271 or visit the SSA office in person at 600 SW Commerce Place in Topeka.  If a person does not yet have a repreresentative payee, then SSA must first make a determination that a Representative Payee is needed.  

2.  After SSA has determined a person needs a Representative Payee, then that person can choose a Representative Payee from the SSA-provided list, on which BTH is located.

3.  If BTH is chosen, applications for Representative Payee Services are available at the Breakthrough House, Inc. at 525 SW Topeka Blvd. 8-5pm Mon-Fri.  Please make sure a good phone number is given, so that you can be contacted. Those individuals with no current Representative Payee will be given preference.*

*If an individual is unhappy with their current payee, it is highly recommended that individual discuss the situation with their current payee (and case manager), to try to reach an improved understanding.  SSA then can be contacted.  BTH does not have the authority to take in new payee consumers, without the knowledge and authorization of the SSA.   


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