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Medical Evidence of Incapability

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

1606. Medical Evidence of Incapability

Acceptable medical evidence of a beneficiary's inability to handle payments is a signed statement from a physician, psychologist or other qualified medical practitioner who is in a position to provide an opinion of a beneficiary's ability to manage his or her funds. The statement should be based on an examination within the last year and must contain the actual/original signature of the person who conducted the examination or their authorized representative.

Last Revised: Aug. 2, 2007

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There are 9 Comments

I am trying to get Payee Service for an extreme mentally ill person, who is not in agreement with the service. I ask the psychiatrist for help, but the individual did not know the steps to follow. Are there specific forms that need to be completed or will a letter from the treating psychiatrist be enough. Thank you.

For this type of case, Social Security suggests contacting the SSA soon as possible and requesting an appointment with your local Social Security office to discuss your concerns. If the SSA decides that the person is incapable of managing Social Security benefits, they will select someone to serve as her representative payee.

Form SSA-11 is the form to use to be selected as representative payee.

FYI: If the person is able to pay for their immediate housing or lives in gov housing and gets food and they have maintained thus far, then you can help them if they have trouble remembering to pay on time etc by contacting their landlord and arranging someone to pick the rent money up from them or scheduling a reminder notice via phone and/or notice on their door. Mentally ill is a broad spectrum that can easily exploit someone that isn't as "mentally ill" as many would like to make them out to be.

I'm not saying mentally ill isn't a reality, not at all, but it is an area that is highly abusive by others unfamilar with the contrast of symptoms and causes that trigger their illness to become unmanagible when others are smothering or zeroing in on them and suggesting they can't do something for themselves. For many that fall under mentally ill, it is just the idea of trying to maintain some form of independence that gives them the drive to keep trying.

When someone with a mental illness wants to fight against having a payee then they are sending a message loud and clear to back out their business of affairs. There are other ways to help them, but trying to maintain control over another's "income" is a direct threat to anyone whether mentally ill or not. Suggesting a psychiatrist is also another threat, so you've provided them with a double threat. You are not only wanting to control their money, you are also seeking a psychiatrist to assist against the wishes of the person and they are typically ready to sign off because the more mentally incapacitated they can make a patient appear, the stronger the foundation to their existence.

People that have been approved for disability did not come by approval out of the goodness of SSD. For many the gamet of medical doctors and psychologists, psychiartrists, etc. is repulsive because of the reliance on pushing pills rather than providing adaptive skills, true feedback in how to handle problems that an individual is combatting alone, etc. They take notes and if you take the time to read what they write and actually listened to what the patient told them,. you will find the notes reflect something totally inaccurate which can be further damaging for that person later down the road. Patients are never privy to what is being interpreted about them during a session.

A law should mandate that any psyh or psychiatrist session be recorded and a patient should be encouraged to record as well in case there are any disputes later on when record sharing takes place amongst other agencies. Further it can be therapeutic in itself for a mentally ill patient to listen to their session so they can reflect on behaviors or responses that they may not even be aware they are emitting and can practice on better communication styles.

If you are trying to obtain payee rep so the person can obtain a check that is under the age of 18 and you are their guardian then you need a power of atty but you will also be responsible for their housing, food, appts, entertainment, clothing, education, etc.

My brother in law is bi-polar and very mentally ill. He receives SSDI and then my husband has control of a trust that was left to him. We just can not handle him anymore. he is very mean, selfish,abusive mentally and verbal to us. We are looking for a payee to handle the money we have control over for his trust. We have tried to get his SSDI with no luck. He is very manipulative and he can not manage his money and is always overdrawn and has people that take advantage of him. We are at the end of our rope and need help. he live sin a house that the trust bought for him. We pay all his utilities, his meds, and other things. With his money he has to buy his food and he smokes. he is addicited to pain meds and we think he is buying them off the streets and that is where alot of his SSDI is going for. We just need help.

I'm not sure, but it sounds like you would like a third party to become the representative payee for your brother.

In general, the SSA prefers that a friend or family member serve as the representative payee for a beneficiary. However, a third party (sometimes an organization) can be a representative payee.

See the following for this :

I recieved a letter that all of a sudden my social security retirement benefits will be stopped????until a representative payee will be selected ....i live paycheck to paycheck and i just recieved this letter only 9 days before my check is suppose to come with no warning at all...I want to know how will I pay my bills and survive while I contact the social security dept, about this ????how will I EAT AND HOW WILL I PAY FOR MY PRESCRIPTIONS AND HOW THE HELL IS THIS EVEN LEGAL???? WHAT AM I TO DO??????

The following outlines the representative payee program. If you don't agree that you need a payee, or if you want a different payee, you have 60 days to appeal that decision by sending a letter to the SSA.

If you want to appeal aSocial Security decision, you can call the SSA's toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or contact your local Social Security office.

I have a friend that was diagnosed with schizophrenia long ago when he was just a child. He is now over age 25 and his mother is still the person getting his ssi checks every month, not him. They declared him "financially irresponsible", but he is not. He can pay his own bills, cook his own food, do his own laundry, etc. Unfortunately his mother wants to keep him binded at home forever so she can use his ssi money each month for her own uses. The checks are actually in the mother's name, not his. He would just simply like to get his ssi check in his own name, so that he can move out of his mother's home and live on his own. What steps does he need to take to get his ssi checks coming to him and in his own name? One person said that he would need clearance from a doctor. Please any help is appreciated, thank you.

Sounds as if the mother is the son's representative payee. The following link outlines some of the procedure regarding "Making a Capability Determination".

It appears that form SSA-787 (PHYSICIAN'S/MEDICAL OFFICER'S STATEMENT OF PATIENT'S CAPABILITY TO MANAGE BENEFITS) is key evidence used to determine if a beneficiary needs a representative payee or not.


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