Saturday, November 24, 2007


The legal issue w/ schizophrenia is determining -- in the absence of a clearly stated threshhold in a power of attorney (and even that is tricky because the person can always revoke the power of attorney) -- at what point a person is so disabled that he or she needs some kind of governmenally approved/ordered assistance managing their money and assets and/or caring for the person.

Governmentally approved assistance includes a representative payee for any Social Security benefits or Office of Personnel Management benefits, appointment of a conservator and/or guardian (nomenclature varies across jurisdictions).

And, usually, obtaining the appointment of a surrogate decisionmaker is the easy part (although it looms large as a threshhold matter). The hard part is exercising those "helpful" powers.

More to come: Powers of attorney; conservatorship; guardianship; representative payee (SSA and OPM).


Judith said...

As the sister of two paranoid schizophrenic brothers, I am keenly aware of a myriad of difficulties associated with living with their illness. When we were little they were my big brothers, my playmates, my friends. They both became ill in their twenties and the striking change in their behaviors was hard to fathom. They were, at times, infuriating; heartbreaking; comical; entertaining; brilliant; unapproachable; frightening; exasperating; and downright stark raving mad. Ultimately, the disease stole from me the brothers that I had known. The anguish for my mother was unimaginable. I had guilt at my inability to build an ongoing relationship with them and displaced anger - I was furious at them instead of at the disease that ultimately owned them and defined who they would be in the world. Imagine being the captain of the football team and president of the student council one day, and waking up a couple of years later finding yourself transformed into the unwashed, homeless guy living in a truck, alone with his cats and his unmerciful demons. As disruptive as they were to our family, my parents, my sisters and me, I’m certain that our pain, collectively and individually, could never approximate the unrelenting agony that my brothers experienced.