Representative Payees

by admin on July 15, 2020 · Representative Payees

Some people who receive Social Security or SSI benefits are unable to manage their personal business for themselves. This could be due to a disability or a medical condition. In these cases Social Security will designate another person or an organization to handle their benefits for them. This person is designated their representative payee. Some people think having “Power of Attorney” will entitle them to information, payment, and other dealings with Social Security. Social Security does not recognize “Power of Attorney.” This can be used as a basis for making someone the representative payee.

Representative payees are responsible for using the money from Social Security or SSI benefits for the needs of the individual. They are also responsible for saving any unused money and are required to account for how the money is being spent.

Children are required to have representative payees; this person is typically their parent or the guardian that has custody of the child. Whenever a child is approved for benefits from Social Security or SSI their parent or guardian is required to complete the representative payee application and present their identification in the Social Security office.

An adult that is determined to be incompetent will also be required to have a representative payee. The determination that an individual needs a payee can be made by the local Social Security office. A person’s family, social worker, or nursing home can also request that a payee be assigned to handle the benefits. If you need to apply to become a payee for a friend or relative, submit the application form SSA-11BK, along with your identification in your local Social Security office. Most payee applications require a face to face interview.

Representative payees are required to use the money from Social Security and SSI to meet the needs of the person receiving benefits. This includes seeing to the food, clothing, and shelter needs. Payees are required to save any unused money for future needs. Representative payees are also required to keep Social Security’s records current by reporting any changes of address, marital status, and employment status. They are responsible for seeing to the medical treatment of the individual and any Medicare claims that need to be filed. Payees are required to complete annual reporting of how the money is being used; they are responsible for any overpayments that may arise and ensuring this money is returned to Social Security.

Sometimes having a representative payee can cause a hardship for people receiving benefits from Social Security or SSI. Allegations of fraud and misuse of funds should immediately be reported to the local Social Security office. If you are payee for someone and no longer wish to continue in this role contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

If you are receiving benefits from Social Security or SSI and have a representative payee but wish to manage your money for yourself, you will need to have your doctor write a letter stating you are able to do this for yourself. The doctor’s office will need to fax this letter to the local Social Security office. For more information on becoming your own payee contact Social Security at the 800 number given above.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg March 2, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I am a representative payee for a woman who cannot speak English.

The description of what the funds are to be used for are a bit vague.

Is the SSI recipient allowed to have a cell phone instead of a land line, an auto (if has a driver’s license), TV cable, etc.?

Is there a list of necessities that can be viewed?

Thank you,

P Sanders September 11, 2009 at 12:09 am

Meg I need some guidance about being an RP, too. How do I save money not spent when SSI considers money not spent a resource that disqualifies my relative from receiving SSI. By the way, I have read that a car MAY be considered a resource, but I never get info on what “may” actually means. I did get a vague interpretation from a caseworker: spend 75% for food, clothing, shelter, living expenses (utilities,etc), remaining 25% for recreation, education, training,etc. as a general guide. Pretty vague.

Passive December 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm

My brother had a designated (friend) as rep – he has now passed away. He told us several times that he was due the back pay for at least 9 months. She got his disability check after passing, but still deposited it in an account and then wrote a few checks to cash. I cannot reach her now – she will not answer any calls, my fear is she got the back settlement and used it without him even knowing. I know he did receive at least 1 as he got a very cheap used car. Once I get the official d. certificate can I get a statement as to what he actually received? I know I will submit the paperwork to have his account checked, but I want to know if she did something behind the scenes. I think she could easily make up a story how she spent it for his sake. The lack of her contact tells me something is not right. any help or ideas would be appreciated. At this point he does not have a dpoa or administrator of his estate.

Ann April 29, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Can a nursing home get to be representative payee without a signature from the beneficiary or her power of attorney

Keralee June 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I am the landlord of a mentally ill person who really should have a rep. payee, as he is unable to manage paying his rent, utilities, trash on his own. How do I get social security to re-evaluate his financial competency? What constitutes proof of financial incompetence?

a person that does not need a payee June 29, 2010 at 9:45 am

I am on disability and do not need a payee. I have a high school diploma. I am sick but I am not a complete idiot. I can balance a checkbook. I have never bounced a check. I have reported before I do not need a payee . So far it seems someone refuses to realize I do not need a Payee. I have reported with a letter from my Doctor that I do not need a payee but it had no effect. I worked very hard many years and I just do not understand why I cannot have my money to pay my bills . This payee stuff is really something that makes a person so embarassed. I am so disgusted.

Genevieve August 27, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I am the spouse of a Parkinson’s with Dementia patient who resides in a nursing home. I have had friction with the management because they want me to pay privately for dates of service already covered by Medically Needy program of Medicaid. They filed a request with Social Security to become the Representative Payee.They did so without consulting us nor informing us that they did so. I found out because SS funds never arrived to our checking account for the month of August 2010. They absolutely know that I have always taken care of all financials for John. That I am absolutely capable and willing to do so. They simply say that ” facility may legally request to be Representative Payee under SS guidelines-this is the law-DSHS is aware” They had NO need nor NO right. I have now applied for Representative Payee. I cannot believe that there is no specific criteria by which thay must comply and no checks and balances to protect patients who are so vulnerable. This must be financial abuse of some sort and there muast be some sanctions for such such smug “I can do it to you because I can” attitude and actions. There must be some recourse availablefor us.

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