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Interest of the Beneficiary

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

1601. Interest of the Beneficiary

1601.1 When does SSA select a representative payee?

When a beneficiary is unable to manage or direct the management of his or her funds, we select either an individual or an organization to serve as a representative payee.

1601.2 Must a beneficiary be declared legally incompetent before a representative payee is selected?

If we decide that a beneficiary is incapable of managing or directing the management of his or her funds, we appoint a payee. Beneficiaries under the age of 18 are generally considered incapable of managing their own funds and also require a payee. However, if a beneficiary is legally incompetent, he or she must have a payee.

1601.3 What evidence must be provided before a representative payee is selected?

Convincing evidence that an adult beneficiary is incapable of managing or directing the management of his or her funds must be provided before we appoint a representative payee. (See §§ 1604-1607 for a discussion of evidence.)

Last Revised: Aug. 2, 2007

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There are 4 Comments

My Aunt is on disabilty and is being paid social security. My grandfathers son is her representative payee. In the family some questions have begun to arise as to whether they are managing her payments ethically. Recently they have decided to stop paying her bills and are waiting for her to eventually lose her house. While they have done this they are still collecting her social security and she is unaware that they have stopped paying her bills. They have been very adamant about not telling her about the money situation as she is very mentally unstable. What can we do to stop this. They are very secretive about what they are getting and what they are or are not paying. We are concerned she will end up homeless while they are collecting her social security. Is there a way to confront them and challenge a change of representative payee status so that someone more ethical is managing this?

I am the rep payee for my sister. I recently inquired to open a rep payee bank account for her since her son had stolen some of her checks from her previous account. All the ssa gave me was a form saying that I had applied to be her rep payee and the bank is asking for a letter of appointment from the ssa. What form do i need to ask for when I go to ssa?


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