• Christopher Le

What does a representative payee do with my Social Security Disability benefits?

What Does a Social Security Representative Payee Do?


A small percentage of Social Security Disability cases will involve a representative payee to help in manage a disabled claimants financial affairs. Its best to have someone you trust like a close family member or friend be your representative payee.


In what situations do I need a payee?

Normally, minors, adults declared legally incompetent, or adults with drug or alcohol problems are more prone to needing a representative payee


What is the job of a Payee?

A representative payee must use the disability benefits they receive appropriately and in the best interest for the disabled person's needs. The payee must also properly account for the money spent, and must report certain changes in the life or living situation of the disabled person (the "beneficiary") to Social Security Administration (SSA).


What can the Payee spend the disability money on?

A representative payee must open a checking or savings account under the name of the payee. It should not be a joint account. The disability funds should be used to pay for:

  • housing

  • food

  • clothing

  • utilities

  • medical and dental expenses, and

  • personal care items.

If there is money still left over, that money can be used to pay for rehabilitation expenses, education, past-due bills, family expenses, or entertainment for the disabled person. Any money left after that should be saved in an interest bearing bank account. Its important to note that the payee needs to properly document and track all the money spent and will need to file a final accounting with SSA.


What changes does a payee need to report to SSA?

The representative payee notify SSA if the beneficiary:

  • gets married

  • changes residence

  • has a roommate (including a dependent child)

  • loses a roommate (including a dependent child)

  • is hospitalized or institutionalized

  • starts and/or stops working

  • receives child support, or receives any other kind of benefit, such as workers' compensation, unemployment or pension

  • is no longer disabled

  • is convicted of a crime, or

  • passes away

Also its important to note that if the payee has mistakenly received too much money from SSA, the payee should contact the SSA so they can determine what the next step is.


How to become a Payee?

In some disability cases, Judges will recommend a representative payee. If you are asked by a disabled claimant to be their payee and you are interested in becoming a Social Security representative payee, you must fill out form SSA-11, Request to Be Selected as a Payee. You may need to explain why the disabled person cannot manage their own f disability funds. You will also need to provide SSA with your social security number and may also have an interview with an SSA representative.

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