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Declining Balance Meal Allowance; Use It or Lose I...
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The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho is a Class A Life Plan Community, otherwise known as a CCRC. We are on a declining balance meal program. We received a fixed dollar amount of meal money at the beginning of each month. As we consume food the monthly credit is reduced.

I understand the declining balance program is fairly common. However, I am curious as to what happens when the meal allowance goes unused, and what happens to payments made when the meal allowance is exceeded. Our dining service is an in-house operation. It is not contracted to a catering service. At the Neighborhood we must use or lose our meal allowance. Often residents do not use the entire allowance. However, unused funds are not credited back to the resident’s account, and they are not carried over to increase the following month’s allowance. Instead, unused funds are credited to the general operating budget. They are not even credited to the dining services budget. Likewise, any overage charges paid are credited to the general operating budget and not to the dining services budget.

It is my belief that the monthly food allowance is a prepayment funded by our monthly service fee and that any unused portion should be refunded to the resident or carried over to the following month. And I believe any positive balance at the end of the year should be credited to the resident’s account. At the very least I believe the unused money should be credited to the dining services budget rather than to the general operating budget. I also believe that overage payments should be credited to the dining budget and not to the general operating budget.

I will be interested in hearing about how the declining balance program works in other CCRC communities.
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