Representative Payees for Social Security Disability
A representative payee is an individual or organization that is appointed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to receive Social Security Disability payments on behalf of someone who cannot manage or direct someone to manage the money. Typically, Social Security judges require that the payments go to a representative payee if the claimant is a child, legally incompetent adult, or has medical or mental health problems that prevent him from being able to manage the money appropriately. Being an authorized representative, having a joint bank account with a beneficiary, or having a power of attorney does not make one a representative payee. In order to become a representative payee, one must apply for the position and be appointed for it by the SSA. A Representative Payee's Responsibilities The main responsibilities of a representative payee are to use the beneficiary's Social Security Disability payments to pay for current and foreseeable needs of the beneficiary and save any benefits that currently aren't needed. Representative payees also have to keep records of payments and provide the SSA with receipts showing how the funds were used or saved on the beneficiary's behalf. On a periodic basis, the SSA will request written reports from the representative payee that detail how the funds were spent or saved. If a representative payee does not live with the beneficiary, he should visit the beneficiary at his home on a regular basis and consult with his caretakers to remain aware of his needs and condition. A representative payee is also required to report any events to the SSA that would affect the payment amount or the beneficiary's right to receive payments. Other responsibilities of representative payees include helping the beneficiary get medical treatment when necessary, returning any payments to which the beneficiary is not entitled, and providing benefit information to medical facilities or social service agencies that serve the beneficiary. Examples of things that a representative payee cannot do include signing legal documents (other than Social Security documents) on behalf of the beneficiary and putting a beneficiary's payments in his own account or another person's account. If a representative payee becomes unable to serve as a payee or there is a change of circumstances that would affect his performance, he is required to notify the SSA of these changes. Furthermore, once he stops serving as a payee, he must return any conserved funds to the SSA. Do You Need a Representative Payee? Representative payees assume a great deal of responsibility, so you need to choose someone who will act in your best interests. For more information about selecting a representative payee who you can trust to manage your funds appropriately, please fill out ouronline contact form.