General, Retirement, SSI

Preparation Starts with Information

August 7, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

family hiking and holding hands Your parents were there for you when you were born. They’ve been with you through the most important achievements of your life. Now it’s your turn to show them that they can count on you. As your parents get older, they may need help making decisions. When you volunteer to become a representative payee, you’re supporting your parents and their future.

A representative payee is someone who receives Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on behalf of a person not capable of managing the funds on his or her own. As a representative payee, you would make sure your parents’ basic needs are met by using the money to provide them with food, clothing, and shelter. Any leftover money goes into an interest-bearing account or savings bond for your parents’ future needs. You’re responsible for keeping records of expenses, and we request yearly reports to see how you’ve used or saved the benefits.

Other representative payee duties include knowing your parents’ needs so you can decide the best way to meet those needs with the benefits provided and telling us about any changes that may affect your parent’s eligibility for benefits or the payment amount.

If your parents receive Social Security or SSI benefits and are unable to manage their finances, or you think that may be the case in the future, take the time to become familiar with the responsibilities of a representative payee and consider becoming one.

To learn more about becoming a representative payee, you can read our publication, A Guide for Representative Payees, at and visit the webpage, “When People Need Help Managing Their Money,” at Or, call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to request an appointment.

Take the steps to ensure your parents have a safe and comfortable future. After all they’ve done for you over your lifetime, volunteering as a representative payee is just one way to show how much you care for and appreciate them. Social Security will always be there for you and your parents through life’s journey.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. William F.


    My name is William Forsyth and as of today (12-11-17), I have not received my Medicare bill for the month of January. Whom should I contact to verify if my bill has already been mailed out. Appreciate any assistance you can give me regarding this matter!
    Thank You!

    • Ray F.

      Hi William, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives area available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks. Generally, you may have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks!

  2. Frank P.

    Being a representative payee this is the best piece of information I’ve seen so far… I have tried over and over time and what little time between breaks . Sure the web (internet) is the most reliable source of whatever needs. Viruses, scams,solicitors, friends and family all seem to assume that all have access to a phone or computer. How stressful could it be if you didn’t own one or the other? This new stuff needs to addressed and mailed… You know

  3. Sharon B.

    My SS is laughable. Because I was ambitious and worked for two state agencies at the same time, I can’t get paid separately. It has to be together, which makes SS less. Since the day I retired, my SS has paid Medicare Part B ($104 or $110) plus $60 in cash. The cola has never been high enough to raise my $60 that goes into my bank account. The increase in Medicare, plus the way our system of seeing doctors in 2018 is going to be, is more than my $60. So, who whoever said we were going backwards was right. Everything else goes up, but not fixed incomes and “colas.”

  4. Andy

    How do we know fund will be solvent with undetermined COLA?

    • Marc

      Because the program is SELF FUNDED – not one dime, ever, has come from the government budget, no matter how Congress lies. Cutting Social Security will not help the deficit one scintilla – but all that money in it will go instead to the investment bankers on Wall Street who now run the entire financial structure of the country, thanks to their billionaire buddy I’m the White House appointing them all to the Cabinet and the Federal Reserve. They’ll get richer, and you’ll lose your future.

  5. Wayne E.

    But the Feds don’t realize, that once a COLA is given; the business’ in the different states ALSO raise their retail rates along with the whole-sale providers (food, gas, heat oil, electricity, restaurants, groceries stores). They too want a piece of the Pie! Just once, the CPI-W for not only the third qtr. but all four qtrs should be looked at for the previous year, and done so by FOUR Regions. Like the time zone regions as example. Compile divide by 4 and get the average! As some area’s are desparate in need and Not Getting. OR Freeze the whole sale rates for several years at time of release for the CPI-W for the next years COLA!

    • Tom

      If you have voted to reduce government let me tell you: you have voted to reduce it for yourself and everyone else you care about. Plain and simple. Congress determines the COLA formula, not the agency. But that is too much information for most voters who feel any facts are a burden. So if you elect an anti-government representative, since you don’t pay for their election campaigns, rich Americans and corporations that do will still have government paid for by your taxes to enrich themselves while you see cuts in programs you want and probably need. Just don’t ask too many questions otherwise they’ll get your blood boiling with lies about losing guns, Sharia law, ending Christmas and welfare bums. As long as you fall for the bait-and-switch they will rely on having you vote to take away the safety net you spent your whole working life paying for.


    The purpose of the 0.3 COLA was so they could raise the price of Medicare under the Hold Harmless. Without an increase they couldn’t raise medicare. Some got an increase of 79 cents a month so the Feds could increase medicare from $104. plus change to $120. plus change. so you didn’t get a raise you got more debt, This is called sharpshooting by the Feds to cheat you out of something.

    • John

      Still the increased premium can not exceed the COLA. For many people this ended up as a zero net change. So there is not more debt, just a lot of nothing.

    • Dean J.

      Social Security is nothing but a government managed ponzie scheme

      • Debra B.

        I do not agree. Would you rather trust hedge funds and wall street?

        • Pat B.

          A thief is a thief makes no difference to me

      • Pat B.

        You are right,not to mention every politician past and present having their hand I the till .Since I have been housewife for the past ten years if I should become disabled at age 62 I’m out of luck .I know about 5 people in their 40’s and 50’s that are obese blew out knees and hips and are getting SSI Since when did being fat become a disability? I have a son that had his SS # stolen by an illegal it was reported why didn’t ICEpick up this thug? If my son had stolen a SS# he would’ve rotting in jail now
        Imjust PO’d

        • Bee F.

          I get you! and yes a lot of ppl on the system that took advantage hugely. But at 55 I blew out my knees working at the airport (airlines) and jumping, kneeling 24/7 for 18 years .. yup no knees. And today my health insurance is barely giving me after 6 years of waiting a new body part. yup…lol. A body part! I still work hard and pay for my private health insurance that probably still pays for those that do not have insurance…but until the Corruption is dealt with and the special ppl realize that American citizens come first and its our land not theirs until they accept Americans ideals and sacrifice of blood, sweat and tears for our land of the free. Even today the corruption thinks they won a victory lap in impeaching our POTUS… its a grand show to be so called leaving a imprint of what they did with photos, and videos for the archives…and being exonerated by their evil bosses the bribed them for their sins!! And ICE … is everyday picking up. and sending them back worldwide. CDC has outbreaks of illnesses that the MSM, state news doesn’t cover as usual. The baby boomers better say something as we were hoodwinked into ‘TRUST US” MODE… by our corrupted officials.

    • Marc

      Not the “Feds” – the Republican-majority CONGRESS decided every year whether or not Social Security sees an increase; Congress also increases Medicare premiums. But don’t worry; read the new proposed budget that goes into effect Sept 30 if they pass it – Medicare ends (turns into vouchers for you to BUY regular health insurance in the open market), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI for people who worked and paid in all their lives) is cut 20% starting Jan 1 2018 and phased out completely over the next two years, and Social Security itself will also be eliminated over the next few years, replaced by a private plan you’ll have to buy into. All the complaining you’ve all done is coming home to roost. You hate the government programs for retired, disabled, and seniors? No problem, it’ll soon be a thing of the past. See the actual budget bill they’re voting on at, read it for yourself. And thanks a lot – for nothing.

  7. AKA

    The Representative Payee process is important as it helps those who can’t manage directing the use of their funds for themselves. Too bad the government sees it as an opportunity to violate someone’s 2nd Amendment rights. I may not be able to remember to pay my bills on time but that does not mean I no longer have the right to protect myself.

  8. Mr. T.

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  9. Mr. T.

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  10. Poochie

    What was the increased changed for the year of 2017 in Social Security Benefits and what year was it change before.

    • Lesly F.

      Dear my friend you need call social security administration for that question about increased was for this years.

    • Denny
      Based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of … Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 0.3 percent COLA for 2017.

    • Ray F.

      Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 65 million Americans increased 0.3 percent in 2017. See our Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) web page for more information.

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