What is a representative payee? A representative payee is an individual who manages the payments and benefits on behalf of a beneficiary (Social Security or Supplemental Security Income beneficiary).
Why would someone need a payee? There are many reasons why a beneficiary would need a payee to manage their benefits such as being a minor or suffering from dementia.The Social Security Administration does not recognize Power of Attorneys (POA) and therefore the designated payee takes on the responsibility of managing this individual’s benefits.
How is one appointed as a payee? The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides beneficiaries with the ability to choose up to 3 designated payees in advance. The beneficiary will need to rank these 3 designated payees in order. If the first payee is unable to act as payee, the next payee on the list will be asked and so on. If a beneficiary needs a representative payee and is unable to choose one, the SSA will appoint someone. The SSA usually appoints a family member or friend as payee but if that option is unavailable, a qualified organization may be appointed.
What are payees responsible for? Payees are responsible for managing the payments on behalf of the beneficiary. Payees are responsible for keeping track of payments and how the payments are spent and/or saved. Payees may use the benefits to pay for essential items and services as well as personal items for the beneficiary. The payee may not use or spend the beneficiary’s payments for his/her own benefit in any way. Representative Payee Reports are no longer required to be submitted annually. However, payees should keep records as the SSA may request this information at any given time.
Learn more about representative payees here.