General, Retirement, SSI

Understanding the Need for a Representative Payee

December 29, 2022 • By

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Last Updated: December 29, 2022

an older adult and younger adult working together at a computer screenYou may know someone who gets a monthly Social Security benefit or Supplemental Security Income payment and who also needs help managing their money. If someone you know needs help, we can appoint a person or an organization to act as a “representative payee” responsible for receiving and managing a person’s benefits.

When we assign a representative payee, we select someone who knows the beneficiary’s needs and can make decisions about how to best use their benefits for their care and wellbeing. Representative payees are responsible for completing an annual form to account for the benefit payments they receive and manage. They must complete this form and return it to Social Security by mail or, if they have a personal my Social Security account, they can file it online using the Representative Payee portal. Account holders can get a benefit verification letter and manage direct deposit and wage reporting for their beneficiaries.

You also have the option to identify, in advance, up to three people you trust to serve as your future representative payee and help manage your benefits, if the need arises. We call this Advance Designation. We offer Advance Designation to capable adults and emancipated minors who are applying for or already receiving Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Special Veterans Benefits. With Advance Designation, you and your family can enjoy peace of mind knowing someone you trust may be appointed to manage your benefits.

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If you know someone who needs help managing their monthly benefits, please consider becoming a representative payee. You can also help by sharing this information with friends and family.


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  1. Tony

    If the SSA wants to waste taxpayers money appointing representative payee to beneficiaries not require by law, then I have a way to get the SSA to waste even more money from their budget.

    There is a special technique under 20 C.F.R. 404.1520a. The technique is done on Form SSA-4734-F4-SUP

    Because of the complexity of mental disorder evaluation, a special Form SSA-4734-F4-SUP is to be used to document the mental residual functional capacity (RFC) decision, i.e., what an individual can do despite his /her impairment.

    The Medical Expert or the State DDS (MC/PC) is the one who does the mental RFC assessment under 20 C.F.R. 404.1520a(e)(5)

    The ALJ cannot play the role of a doctor and make a mental RFC assessment.

    The SSA was cheap before and didn’t request a Vocational Expert for a mental disability hearing. Now they are going to need to also call a medical expert or send it back to the DDS to apply the mental RFC technique.

    When word get out the SSA will have to make changes.

    Did you know that the Medical Vocational Rules are not meant to help the claimant?

    If the claimant passes Step 4, the the claimant has a presumption of disability and the burden of proof shift to the SSA Commissioner at Step 5.

    The SSA Commissioner need the Medical Vocational Rules to determine that the claimant is not disabled. If the SSA Commissioner cannot meet this burden of proof at Step 5, then the claimant wins by default.

    SSR 85-15 is the only Medical Vocational rule for claimant with solely mental limitations. The SSA Commissioner doesn’t want to recind their only Medical Vocational Rule.

    How desperate is the SSA Commissioner to keep this Medical Vocational Rule?

    The SSA Commissioner would change the Mental Disorders Listing to comply with the Medical Vocational Rule.

    A substantial loss in one of the four Paragraph B Criteria would meet the mental disorder listing.

    The mental disorders listing requires two marked limitations in two areas. The SSA Commissioner had to add one extreme in March 2017.

    I know more than just that way to recind SSR 85-15. I also know how to invalidate the ALJ and VE testimony about the administrative notice of jobs in the national economy for people with solely mental limitations.

    It is very easy to get approved for a mental disability and you don’t need to be like Eric Conn by committing fraud.

    I applied with no medical records and got approved with just the mental CE exams. Be careful when you review a mental disability case with just the CE exams in the case file. The warning signs are there and the new SSA Commissioner will be opening up a pandora box.

    Reply
    • Tony

      The special technique suppose to be done over again at each appeal level. The ALJ level skipped it because the SSA doesn’t want to spend the money on it because it is spending money on appointing representative payee who don’t need it.

      The client’s attorney should request a remand for not following federal regulations.

      It is going to cost a lot of money performing the special technique for every mental disability case and delay cases even further causing a huge backlog at the ALJ level.

      Reply
    • Cynthia M.

      I don’t like the income from social security . Are very few monthly payment
      Of $203.00 in the months. Your office
      are fraud to my monthly payments.

      Reply
  2. Tony

    Title II disabled beneficiaries shouldn’t be treated like this.

    How can I request reasonable accommodation for Title II disabled beneficiaries in the SSA program?

    A reasonable accommodation request is not a complaint of discrimination. If the reasonable request is denied, then I can file a complaint of discrimination.

    In 42 U.S.C. 405(j)(1)(B) it states, “In the case of an individual entitled to benefits based on disability, the payment of such benefits shall be made to a representative payee if the Commissioner of Social Security determines that such payment would serve the interest of the individual because the individual also has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition (as determined by the Commissioner) and the individual is incapable of managing such benefits.”

    The individual entitled to benefits under Title II based on disability must be both (1) the individual has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition and (2) the individual is incapable of managing such benefits

    I am requesting reasonable accommodation for Title II disabled beneficiaries without alcoholism or drug addiction condition to be exempted from having a representative payee.

    The SSA Commissioner is violating the federal law based on the beneficiaries disability. This is discrimination even without reasonable accommodation. Asking for reasonable accommodation is just icing on the cake.

    Reply
  3. Tony

    The Administrative Law Judge cannot play the role of a doctor or SSA Commissioner.

    There is a special technique to meet the mental disorder listing that can only be perform by a (MC/PC).

    Because of the complexity of mental disorder evaluation, a special Form SSA-4734-F4-SUP is to be used to document the mental residual functional capacity (RFC) decision, i.e., what an individual can do despite his /her impairment.

    Form SSA-4734-F4-SUP is to be completed and signed by the (MC/PC).

    The narrative in Section lll of Form SSA-4734-F4-SUP is the RFC. The ALJ can’t play doctor and make up his/her own RFC.

    There is nothing in the OHO HALLEX that tell the ALJ to make a determination if the beneficiary needs a representative payee. That is the job of the local field office.

    The SSA local field office employee told me the ALJ made a determination I need a representative payee. The ALJ is a neutral party and there is nothing in the OHO HALLEX to make a capacity determination for a representative payee, so how can the ALJ play the role of the SSA Commissioner and make a capacity determination that I need a representative payee.

    The SSA local field office employees are too lazy to perform a capacity determination. The SSA local field office employees are too lazy to find an individual representative payee or organizational payee. The SSA local field office employees are too lazy too to send out the notices after the selected a representative payee with the appeal rights.

    Reply
  4. Tony

    20 C.F.R.§ 404.2030. How will we notify you when we decide you need a representative payee?

    I never received a notice and my right to appeal under the federal regulation. The SSA denied me my due process right.

    Reply
    • Tony

      This federal regulation was passed on Oct. 7, 2004 years before I was approved for SSDI.

      The SSA didn’t want to find me an organizational payee or a individual payee. If I can advance designate a representative payee, then I am a competent adult who doesn’t need a representative payee now.

      The federal law states that the beneficiary cannot advance designate a organizational payee. Basically it is the job of the SSA to find the organizational payee for the beneficiary. The SSA needs to get off their lazy ass.

      If the SSA determines the beneficiary isn’t capable of advance designation the person they chose, then they have to find the beneficiary another individual payee or organizational payee.

      Reply
  5. Angela F.

    How much does the payee service cost me if I don’t have a family member to ask?

    Reply
    • Tony

      A qualified organization may collect from an individual a monthly fee for expenses (including overhead) incurred by such organization in providing services performed as such individual’s representative payee pursuant to this subsection if such fee does not exceed the lesser of—

      (I) 10 percent of the monthly benefit involved, or

      (II) $25.00 per month ($50.00 per month in any case in which the individual is described in paragraph (1)(B).

      Paragraph (1)(B) is the individual with an alcohol or drug addiction. If this individual is on SSI, then they pay between 5.47% – 10%. Fifty dollars divided by maximum SSI $50/$914 = 5.47%

      It is highway robbery. The cash checking store charges 3% or less to cash a check. The organizational payee is just writing you a check or depositing it into your account and charging 5.47% – 10%.

      Reply
      • Tony

        Paragraph (1)(B) states, “In the case of an individual entitled to benefits based on disability, the payment of such benefits shall be made to a representative payee if the Commissioner of Social Security determines that such payment would serve the interest of the individual because the individual also has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition (as determined by the Commissioner) and the individual is incapable of managing such benefits.”

        I am an individual entitled to benefits based on disability. I don’t have an alcohol or drug addiction to be appointed a representative payee. The SSA Commissioner is incompetent. He just want to appoint a representative payee to steal our money.

        The individual entitled to benefits based on disability must be both (1) the individual has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition and (2) the individual is incapable of managing such benefits.”

        Reply
        • Tony

          The SSA Commissioner is violating federal law 42 U.S.C. 405(j)(1)(B)

          Reply
        • Tony

          Paragraph (1)(B) only applies to Title II unless otherwise specified.

          We work all your life paying for Disability Insurance. The SSA Commissioner doesn’t follow the law and wants to appoint a representative payee to steal part or all of our insurance.

          We already have to pay taxes on the insurance over a certain amount. Now there is a hidden fee.

          Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Angela. Great question!  Generally, payees are not allowed to collect a fee from the beneficiary for performing payee services. However, in some very limited circumstances, we authorize certain types of organizations to collect a fee.  For information on how much an organization can charge, check out our Guide For Organizational Representative Payees. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Don F.

    What if you have been designated as a representative but the SSI funds are sent to a Financial Institution through direct deposit where the beneficiary is the primary account holder. How does the representative have any control on what the benefits are spent on when the beneficiary has full control over the account and is able to withdrawal the funds at their own discretion? What is the point to having an assigned representitive?

    Reply
    • Steve

      Hi Don,
      The payments should be set up in a special account at a bank that the beneficiary can not access. If SSA is sending the money to the beneficiary it is in error and should be corrected.

      Reply
      • Tony

        If the beneficiary is capable of advance designation, then they don’t need someone to manage their benefits now. In the future, they may not be able to manage their benefits and the SSA Commissioner will use the advance designation.

        It is like making a contract or will in the event something happens to them. Many crooked caregivers try to get the elderly patients to change their will, but the elderly’s children will claim the elderly person was incompetent and the caregiver abused and extorted the elderly person.

        The advance designation means nothing. There are ways around it. The SSA Commissioner can determine that the beneficiary was unable to manage their benefits before the advance designation. The beneficiary usually claim an onset date of their disability before the advance designation. The SSA Commissioner can determine the beneficiary was unable to manage their benefits at the onset date of their disability and cannot make an advance designation.

        Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Don. Thanks for visiting our blog. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  7. Tracey A.

    When my son did his redetermination at 18 yrs I provided a psychologist’s report determining my son legally incompetent per request from a dist. Judge and I was subsequently approved to continue as his representative payee. Now my son is 22 and after spending a little time with his estranged father, he convinced my son to ask his pymts be sent directly to him. How can the same report that was accepted for continued payee need at 18 be rejected now?

    Reply
    • Tony

      If you are carrying out the payees responsibilities properly, then the SSA shouldn’t remove you under 20 C.F.R. 404.2050.

      “We will terminate payment of benefits to your representative payee and find a new payee or pay you directly if the present payee:

      (a) Has been found by us or a court of competent jurisdiction to have misused your benefits;

      (b) Has not used the benefit payments on your behalf in accordance with the guidelines in this subpart;

      (c) Has not carried out the other responsibilities described in this subpart;

      (d) Dies;

      (e) No longer wishes to be your payee;

      (f) Is unable to manage your benefit payments; or

      (g) Fails to cooperate, within a reasonable time, in providing evidence, accounting, or other information we request.”

      The SSA employees are incompetent and might not know the federal regulations.

      Reply
    • Steve

      Tracy,
      When the beneficiary requests a change of rep payee the SSA office is supposed to do a little investigation to see who is the best payee. The claims rep makes a decision based on their investigation.

      Reply
      • Tony

        Only a capable beneficiary is allowed advance designation. He is no longer capable because he was appointed a representative payee. He can’t advance designate his estranged father.

        The incompetent SSA employee at the local office might not know the federal law.

        Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Tracey. Thanks for visiting our blog. For your son’s 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, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  8. Tony

    What is the difference between the ability to “designate” and the ability to “direct” someone to manage your benefits.

    If they have the ability to direct someone to manage their benefits, then they don’t need a representative payee.

    The SSA told me I need a representative payee. This was before the SSA allowed advance designation. The SSA told me to find a representative payee or an organization payee on my own because they don’t have contracts with organizational payee.

    If I am able to contract on my own, then I don’t need a representative payee.

    The VA manages the contracts with the fiduciary. If the fiduciary steals the money, then the VA reimburse the money stolen. The VA fiduciary must purchase a surety bond even if the fiduciary is a relative.

    The SSA want us to personally contract with the representative payee or organizational payee who could steal our money. The SSA won’t even reimburse us if our money get stolen.

    My question again is what is the difference between the ability to “designate” and the ability to “direct.”

    It seem the SSA Commissioner wants to push the responsibility of appointing the representative payee on the beneficiary and make the beneficiary responsible if the money get stolen.

    Reply
    • Tony

      What I hear is horror stories from other beneficiaries with representative payee.

      A representative payee does not have access rights, unless the payee is also the legal guardian. See SSA POMS GN 03340.030

      Why is the SSA sending the Disability Update Reports to the representative payee? The representative payee are incorrectly filling out the form mailed to them. The SSA has messed up big times.

      The representative payee doesn’t have access to the beneficiary medical records.

      The Disability Update Report should be mailed directly to the beneficiary and shouldn’t have the representative payee name on it.

      A Representative Payee under Subpart U of 20 C.F.R. PART 404 is not the same as a Representative of Parties under Subpart R.

      Reply
    • Tony

      SSA POMS GN 03340.030 also provides access to an incompetent adult upon request and verification of his or her identity.

      The SSA wouldn’t let the legally competent adults access to change their address. I tried to change my address but the SSA customer service representative on the phone wouldn’t allow it. The SSA only allows the representative payee to change the legally competent beneficiary address.

      The Representative Payee is not a Representative of Parties. The SSA is incompetent and doesn’t even know the difference between a Representative Payee and a Representative of Parties. The SSA violated the rights of both the legally incompetent and legally competent adult beneficiaries.

      The SSA wouldn’t even allow the legally competent and legally incompetent adult access to change their address on the My Social Security account.

      Reply
  9. John R.

    It says “You may submit or update advance designations through your personal my Social Security account” but when I sign in to my account I don’t see anywhere to specify my advance designations. Also I am calling them and have been on hold for a long time.

    Reply
  10. Hamit a.

    It’s verry interested

    Reply
    • Tony

      In 42 U.S.C. 405(j)(1)(C) capable adults and emancipated minors can advance designate. They are capable of managing their benefits at the time they are capable of advance designation.

      42 U.S.C. 405(j)(1)(B) is before 42 U.S.C. 405(j)(1)(C).

      In 42 U.S.C. 405(j)(1)(B) it states, “In the case of an individual entitled to benefits based on disability, the payment of such benefits shall be made to a representative payee if the Commissioner of Social Security determines that such payment would serve the interest of the individual because the individual also has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition (as determined by the Commissioner) and the individual is incapable of managing such benefits.”

      The individual entitled to benefits under Title II based on disability must be both (1) the individual has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition and (2) the individual is incapable of managing such benefits.”

      All other individuals entitled to benefits under Title II based on disability do not need a representative payee. The SSA Commissioner need to stop wasting taxpayers processing representative payee for individuals who don’t require it under the federal law.

      The SSA Commissioner already exempt the parent representative payee who reside with the beneficiary from the annual accounting.

      This suppose to reduce the cost to taxpayers processing the annual accounting. It is not the case because the SSA keeps sending the annual accounting form even when the parents stated that they reside with the beneficiary.

      The parent even cited GN 00605.015. “The agency closed out all pending accounting actions in the Electronic Representative Payee Accounting (eRPA) system concerning mailers”

      The Field Office keeps on sending the mailers every year. The SSA Commissioner loves wasting taxpayers money.

      Reply

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