Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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A representative payee is an individual or organization appointed by SSA to receive Social Security and/or SSI benefits for someone who cannot manage or direct someone else to manage his or her money. The main responsibilities of a payee are to use the benefits to pay for the current and foreseeable needs of the beneficiary and properly save any benefits not needed to meet current needs. A payee must also keep records of expenses. When SSA requests a report, a payee must provide an accounting to SSA of how benefits were used or saved.
Having power of attorney, being an authorized representative or having a joint bank account with the beneficiary is not the same thing as being a payee. These arrangements do not give legal authority to negotiate and manage a beneficiary’s Social Security and/or SSI payments. In order to be a payee a person or organization must apply for and be appointed by SSA.
A beneficiary is a person who receives Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Social Security and SSI are two different programs and both are administered by SSA.
The law requires most minor children and all legally incompetent adults to have payees.
In all other situations, adult beneficiaries are presumed to be capable of managing benefits. If there is evidence to the contrary, however, SSA may gather evidence and determine there is a need to appoint a representative payee.
A payee acts on behalf of the beneficiary. A payee is responsible for everything related to benefits that a capable beneficiary would do for himself or herself. SSA encourages payees to go beyond just managing finances and to be actively involved in the beneficiary’s life. The following lists the required duties of a payee.
- Determine the beneficiary’s needs and use his or her payments to meet those needs;
- Save any money left after meeting the beneficiary’s current needs in an interest bearing account or savings bonds for the beneficiary’s future needs;
- Report any changes or events which could affect the beneficiary’s eligibility for benefits or payment amount;
- Keep records of all payments received and how they are spent and/or saved;
- Provide benefit information to social service agencies or medical facilities that serve the beneficiary;
- Help the beneficiary get medical treatment when necessary;
- Notify SSA of any changes in your (the payee’s) circumstances that would affect your performance or continuing as payee;
- Complete written reports accounting for the use of funds; and
- Return any payments to which the beneficiary is not entitled to SSA.
Your payee receives your payments for you and must use the money to pay for your current needs. After your payee pays those expenses for you, your payee can use the rest of the money to pay any past-due bills you may have, provide entertainment for you, or save the money for your future use.
Facts To Assist Expediting A Representative Payee Application
In an effort to assist with the application process for a request for a Representative Payee, we here at Sterling Payee Services, wish to provide you with some helpful information. Please note that there is a set criterion that is required by the Social Security Administration in order for Sterling Payee Services to submit an application on behalf of you and/or your client.
- Name and Social Security Number are required by the SSA.
- Physical address is needed,(or if homeless, please state so).
- Phone number and date of birth are needed.
- Current Rep Payee and reason for the change.
- It there is not a current rep payee, then a physician’s statement is required by the SSA.
- Do you live alone and if not who and what you pay for rent is required by the SSA.
- The form labeled, “Advance Notification of Representative Payment” or the “SSA-4164” is required by the SSA. (This forms is always included in our Payee Request package.)