What You Should Know About Representative Payees

Pamela Kweller RSSA Staff


What is a Representative Payee?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) created the Representative Payee Program to support beneficiaries of Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. A representative payee manages the payments and benefits on behalf of the beneficiary. The SSA does not recognize Power of Attorneys (POA) and therefore it is important that beneficiaries have a designated payee in case it is needed.

Why does someone need a payee?

There are many reasons why a beneficiary is unable to manage their benefits such as being a minor or suffering from dementia.

Who can be a representative payee?

A representative payee is usually a family member or close friend. The SSA states that if a family member or close friend is unable to perform this duty, a qualified organization may be chosen as a payee.

Can a beneficiary choose his/her own payee?

Yes, the 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.

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.

How do you designate a payee?

You can designate a payee by visiting your My Social Security account or by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.

You can find more information on Representative Payees here.