Disability, General, Medicare

Another Way to Help You Secure Today and Tomorrow

May 22, 2017 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

two women smiling and hugging Social Security is with you through life’s journey. May is National Older American Awareness Month and we want to talk about one of the stages of our long journey together.

While Social Security wants to put you in control of the benefits you receive from us, there may come a time when you need help managing your benefits. If that time comes, Social Security is there. Our Representative Payee Program helps millions of beneficiaries who cannot manage their Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits. This can be a child or an adult incapable of overseeing their own funds.

When Social Security receives information indicating someone needs help managing their money and meeting their current needs, we assign someone to help. Your representative payee receives your payments on your behalf and must use the money to pay for your needs, which include:

  • housing and utilities;
  • food;
  • medical and dental expenses;
  • personal care items;
  • clothing; and
  • rehabilitation expenses (if you’re disabled).

After those expenses are paid, your payee can use the rest of the money to pay any past-due bills you may have, support your dependents or provide entertainment for you.

A representative payee is usually a trusted family member or friend of the beneficiary, but when friends or family are not able to serve as representative payees, Social Security looks for qualified individuals or organizations to represent the beneficiary. If you live in an institution, such as a nursing home or a hospital, the payee should pay the cost of your care and provide money for your personal needs.

Providing information about a representative payee is another way we help you secure today and tomorrow. You can learn more by watching our series of training videos on the duties of a representative payee. You can also visit our representative payee website for more information.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

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