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Choose a Representative Payee for Social Security to Consider Before You May Need One

April 3, 2020 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

older couple reviewing paperwork and using laptop

The future can be uncertain. However, our Advance Designation program can help put you in control of your benefits if a time comes when you need a representative payee to help manage your money. Advance Designation enables you to identify up to three people, in priority order, whom you would like to serve as your potential representative payee.

We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of our Advanced Designation program. Since its launch in March 2020, more than one million eligible individuals have opted to participate.

The following people may choose an Advance Designation:

  • Adults and emancipated minors applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.
  • Adult and emancipated minor beneficiaries/recipients who do not have a representative payee.

We offer Advance Designation if you fall into one of the above categories and are capable of making your own decisions. You can submit your Advance Designation information when you:

  • File a claim for benefits online.
  • Use the application available in your personal my Social Security account.
  • Call us by telephone at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

In the event that you can no longer make your own decisions, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing you already chose someone you trust to manage your benefits.

We have updated our Frequently Asked Questions to answer any questions you may have about Advance Designation. You may also find more information about representative payees in our blog post.


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  1. Robert J.

    I filed for my retirement at 62. I did a phone interview . It was set up by your national toll free office .when I talked to the lady she asked me about signing up for SSI,I had s dual appt..Any I was uncertain about how to proceed . I told her I’d do it later ,k want to speak with someone first .ok I get a letter saying I was denied because I said I didn’t need it .well I go back to the national toll free have another phone interview set up ok that lady was very rude kept putting me on hold ,I’m not able to work I have COPD BIPOLAR NOS ARTHRITIS AND PTSD .SHE SSID WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WORKED AND I TOLD HER THE MONTH BEFORE I WORKED AT A TEMP PLACE FOR A DAY MAN YOUD THINK I SAID I WAS PRINTING MONEY IN THE BASEMENT .ABRUPTLY SHE SSID MY CASE WAS BEING SENT TO OKLAHOMA DHS TO CHECK MY MEDICAL RECORDS .NOW MY EX WIFE WAS SENT TO A SS DR.IMEDIATRLY.THE WOMANTOLD ME IF I DONT HEAR NOTHING IN FOUR MONTHS 7-8-20 TO CALL THEM BACK .THIS IS THE TULSA OFFICE OUT IN BROKEN ARROW..I FORGOT TO MENTION MY PTSD BECSUSE THIS LADY WAS LIKE JUST BE QUIET AND ANSWER THE QUESTIONS..VERY RUDE.HAD I KNOWN MY STUFF WOULD BE REVIEWED BY OKLAHOMA.I WOULD HAVE WENT BACK TO ARKANSAS.I HAD MEDICAID THERE I CANT GET ANY HELP FROM OKLAHOMA .I NEED MEDICAL AND I CANT GET MEDICAID HERE.CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME INSIGHT INTO THIS .THANK YOU POOP

    • Vonda V.

      HI Robert. We are sorry to hear about your experience. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information.

  2. audrey w.

    With the money coming from the government from the covid-19, how will this change my income limits? I just resumed working after being on disability for about 6 hrs. The s.s. rep. Said I could make an unlimited amount till June 2020 and then if I made too much is have to start paying back my extra. Could you help? I will be applying for unemployment since my employer closed. Thank you

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Audrey, thank you for your question. Social Security has special rules that make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments. These are called work incentives.

      For SSDI beneficiaries, there is a Trial Work Period (TWP) and then an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). The TWP allows you to test your ability to work for at least 9 months. During this period, you will receive your full disability benefit regardless of how much you earn as long as your work activity is reported and you continue to have a disabling impairment. In 2020, any month in which earnings exceed $910 is considered a month of the 9-month trial work period.

      Once you’ve completed your TWP, you get a 36-month safety net called the EPE. During the EPE, you get benefits for all months your earnings or work activities are below the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level as long as you continue to have a disabling impairment. Social Security will suspend cash benefits for months earnings are over SGA and start benefits again if earnings fall below the SGA level. In 2020, you are earning SGA if your earnings, after any allowable deductions, are more than $1,260 in a month.

      Check out Social Security’s Red Book for descriptions of the many work incentives.

  3. Fahmi N.

    One of the requirements for having a Social Security Account is having US address. This rules out all Americans receiving Social Security benefits and living overseas. I have written about this problem several times before.
    My other question is, last year my daughter and I purchased a house in Florida, she lives in it. I only live there when in the States. For the rest of the year i live in Israel. Can I claim my house in Florida as my second address to qualify for an account?

    • Suresh D.

      Lots of Senior American face this dilemma. So, whats the solution?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Fahmi. We certainly do apologize for the inconvenience. However, at this time you must have a U. S. mailing address to create or access your online account. The “my Social Security” authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address yet.

  4. Norma S.

    What do I have to do so I can choose my daughter that lives with me to be my representative payee so she can manage my money in case I ever get sick.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Norma. Thank you for using our blog. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page on the ways to submit or change Advance Designation. We hope this helps.

  5. Barbara E.

    Representative Payee:
    1 – Jennifer Sue White
    Mt. Solon, VA

    2 – Adam D. Brooke
    Alexandria, VA

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Barbara. Thank you for using our blog. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page on the ways to submit or change Advance Designation. We hope this helps.

  6. Geraldine W.

    Can u help me fix my scoail secerity account it locked up onme .

    • Sue S.

      Please call the Social
      Security number at 800-772-1213 and when prompted to direct your call, say HELP DESK. A representative will be happy to assist you and unlock your account. Then they can help you step by step to be sure you are able to sign back in while you are on the phone. I hope that this helps. Thank you.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Geraldine. We are sorry that you are having trouble creating a my Social Security account. If you are locked out, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  7. Adreunna

    What help will others receive that are disabled unable to work applying for ssi and denied . What help available to use

  8. Molly M.

    Do disability clients receive payments along with everyone else? also when do these payments paid out?

  9. Ronald G.

    I just turned 67 on 3/38/53 do my benafits change at 67. I have yet to file with SS.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Ronald. Thanks for your question. You will automatically earn Delayed Retirement Credits if you withhold receiving benefits until the age of 70. Delayed retirement credits are added for months of non-payment between full retirement age and age 70. The yearly rate of increase for those born in 1943 or later is 8%. Please visit our Retirement Planner for more information. We hope this helps.

      • Angelia I.

        If you have direct Express card from social security that where the social security put my income will the IRS put the stimulus check on the direct Express card or will they mail the check

        • Vonda V.

          Hi Angelia, thank you for your question. Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who do not have qualifying children under age 17 do not need to take any action with the IRS. You will automatically receive your $1,200 economic impact payment directly from the IRS. You should receive the automatic payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as you would normally receive your Social Security benefits. Treasury expects automatic payments for Social Security beneficiaries no later than the end of April and automatic payments for SSI recipients no later than early May. We hope this helps.

    • Robert E.

      I normally receive my SSI Check on the 26th of the month prior to the following month payment, for whatever reason I haven’t received my April 2020 payment & I tried under dire needs to get it, Plus update my personal file since I’ve been diagnosed with a Terminal Illness. While trying to create an account, your computer system will not recognize a Hawaiian Name for my street.
      Thank you very much for your time and thoughtful consideration, sincerely. REH.

  10. Maria

    The Kissimmee Orlando office is awful. I spoke with an agent requesting help on December 2019, and still not able ti resolve my issue.
    Now they are closed!
    My benefits payments have been wrong since December

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Maria. We are sorry to hear about your experience. You can contact your local Social Security office. Look for the general inquiry telephone number under Show Additional Office Information. You can ask to speak to a manager. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this is resolved soon.

      • John H.

        Help me understand. Maria was unable to get resolution from her Kissimmee Orlando SS office, so your resolution is for her to contact her local SS office. Isn’t KO her local SS office?

    • John J.

      You might want to try the national toll free number, 800-772-1213.

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