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Responsibilities of a Social Security Representative Payee

The Do’s and Don’ts of Being a Social Security Representative Payee

Perhaps you are not familiar with the role played by Social Security representative payees in handling Social Security benefit payments to disabled persons. In this brief article, we will provide answers to some of the most common questions submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA) about the role of representative payees.

Q. What is a representative payee?

A. A representative payee is a person or organization appointed by the SSA to to receive the Social Security benefits or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) of an individual unable to manage their benefits.

The main responsibility of the representative payee is to use these benefits to pay for the needs of the beneficiary and save any benefits not needed to meet current needs.

A representative payee must keep accurate records and submit a report on the disbursement of benefits when the SSA requests such a report.

Q. How do you become a representative payee?

A. To become a representative payee you must apply for this position and be appointed by the SSA. To apply, you can go to your local SSA office and complete Form SSA-11.

It is also essential to remember that having power of attorney is not the same thing as being a representative payee.

Q. Who needs a representative payee?

A. The law requires most minor children and all legally incompetent adults to have a representative payee. The SSA presumes that most adults are capable of handling their own financial affairs, but if it appears this is not the case, an investigation will be conducted to see if a representative payee is needed.

Q.  What are the duties of a representative payee?

A. Social Security law and regulations require payees to use the benefit payments for the beneficiary’s best interests. The SSA also encourages payees to do more than just pay expenses and to become actively involved in the life of the beneficiary.

Q. Can a representative payee collect a fee for their services?

A. No, the SSA does not allow an individual payee to collect a fee for their services. One exception to this rule would be in the case of an organization serving as a payee, but an organization must apply and qualify under the law for fee collection.

Q. Can a representative payee be reimbursed for beneficiary expenses that they paid, such as transportation to a medical appointment?

A. Yes, they can, but the reimbursement must be equal to the expenses, and the payee must keep accurate records of these expenses.

Experienced Legal Assistance from the Law Firm of Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein

We hope these answers provide valuable insight into the highly important role played by representative payees, and additional information can be found on this SSA website.

At Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein we concentrate on helping individuals secure any and all Social Security benefits to which they are rightfully entitled.

If you’re interested in serving as a representative payee for a friend or loved one, or if you are an individual needing assistance in securing your Social Security benefits, we urge you to contact our firm for an initial free consultation.

We’re anxious to assist you, so please contact our firm as soon as possible.

Posted on June 20th, 2023 by Leventhal, Sutton and Gornstein

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