Donor for re-depositing unused fast offering advances

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jblood94
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Donor for re-depositing unused fast offering advances

Postby jblood94 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:57 am

If fast offering recipient receives an advance for an expected expense, but a portion of the advance is unused, the recipient would then return the unused portion of the advance. When entering this amount in a donation batch, I would imagine that it should be placed in the "fast offerings" category, but who should be listed as the "donor"? It seems that if I list the fast offering recipient, the returned amount would be indistinguishable from a charitable contribution, which it obviously isn't. Should I list the ward as the donor?

Any thoughts?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:13 am

jblood94 wrote:If fast offering recipient receives an advance for an expected expense, but a portion of the advance is unused, the recipient would then return the unused portion of the advance. When entering this amount in a donation batch, I would imagine that it should be placed in the "fast offerings" category, but who should be listed as the "donor"? It seems that if I list the fast offering recipient, the returned amount would be indistinguishable from a charitable contribution, which it obviously isn't. Should I list the ward as the donor?


Listing the ward as a donor seems like a reasonable choice, given the situation. It will get the funds back in the correct category, and avoid attributing the return of funds as a charitable donation.

However, I would note that the practice of giving an advance to a fast offering recipient is rather questionable. Bishops are instructed to pay providers of goods and services directly wherever possible. Although I can conceive of a situation where it might be a reasonable choice, this practice should be extremely rare.
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jblood94
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Postby jblood94 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:43 am

That sounds reasonable. Thanks.

I wouldn't say the practice is necessarily questionable, though it could be depending on the circumstances. In our case, I would say it is undesirable but unavoidable as well as rare.

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Postby RossEvans » Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:29 am

aebrown wrote:However, I would note that the practice of giving an advance to a fast offering recipient is rather questionable. Bishops are instructed to pay providers of goods and services directly wherever possible. Although I can conceive of a situation where it might be a reasonable choice, this practice should be extremely rare.


There are some cases where even a payment to a provider can generate funds to be handled somehow. For example, if a check is made out to a pharmacy for a prescription that turns out to cost less expected, the vendor might refund the change in cash. The beneficiary then returns that to the bishop. This has happened to us before.

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mcallaghan
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Postby mcallaghan » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:42 am

We just had a related but slightly different situation. We paid some medical bills from Fast Offering:Medical. Then apparently Medicaid paid the same bills. Last week we received four checks from the hospital as "overpayment refunds." It never occurred to us to make our branch the donor. I deposited the funds back into Fast Offering and put the hospital as the donor. I don't intend ever to send the hospital a donor statement, so maybe it's not a big deal.
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Postby davesudweeks » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:32 am

mcallaghan wrote:We just had a related but slightly different situation. We paid some medical bills from Fast Offering:Medical. Then apparently Medicaid paid the same bills. Last week we received four checks from the hospital as "overpayment refunds." It never occurred to us to make our branch the donor. I deposited the funds back into Fast Offering and put the hospital as the donor. I don't intend ever to send the hospital a donor statement, so maybe it's not a big deal.


Which is a perfect example of why we should avoid, if at all possible, giving the FO checks to the member to pay the bill. Had the member taken the FO checks in, the hospital could have then sent the overpayment to the Fast Offering recipient, instead of correctly to the ward, and the bishop would not know.

Sometimes it is inconvenient to run the payment over to the landlord, etc. ourselves, but that is the way we are supposed to do it. I know there may be very rare cases, but as a clerk for the past 6 years (and former Bishop, and former Branch President) I have not seen one case where we HAD to give the check to the member to take care of. In only a few instances we had to personally run the check over or take the check to an electronic payment facility. Most will allow the check to be mailed if the Bishop or Clerk will call as a representative of the church to let them know the church is paying the bill.

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Postby allenjpl » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:43 pm

davesudweeks wrote:Sometimes it is inconvenient to run the payment over to the landlord, etc. ourselves, but that is the way we are supposed to do it. I know there may be very rare cases, but as a clerk for the past 6 years (and former Bishop, and former Branch President) I have not seen one case where we HAD to give the check to the member to take care of.


I don't know if I've ever seen a situation where the check absolutely had to be given to the member, but I don't know of any requirement that, if it all possible, we should avoid doing so. As long as the check is made payable to the provider and not the recipient of the assistance, I think you should be fine. If the Bishop is concerned about the possibility for welfare abuse or fraud, he can call the bishop's help line as described in Book 1, 5.2.9.

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mcallaghan
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Postby mcallaghan » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:55 pm

I'd just like to be clear that I sent the check directly to the hospital. Medicaid paid the bill also, so the hospital refunded the money to us. In either case, however, it would certainly be possible for the hospital to send the refund to the member instead of us. We'd have never known. This whole thing opens up a whole world of fraud possibilities in my mind now. We can only be so diligent, right?
Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated
Doctrine & Covenants 88:124

davesudweeks
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Postby davesudweeks » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:50 pm

allenjpl wrote:I don't know if I've ever seen a situation where the check absolutely had to be given to the member, but I don't know of any requirement that, if it all possible, we should avoid doing so. As long as the check is made payable to the provider and not the recipient of the assistance, I think you should be fine. If the Bishop is concerned about the possibility for welfare abuse or fraud, he can call the bishop's help line as described in Book 1, 5.2.9.


It has been stressed by our Stake Presidency. I also seem to recall instruction in the online training that checks should not be given to the FO Recipient but should be sent/delivered directly from the ward. Sending it is always the best method, in my opinion for due diligence.


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