Why Do I Need a Representative Payee?

Why Do I Need a Representative Payee?

Sometimes, when you are approved for Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will determine that you need a Representative Payee to help you manage your money. Typically, the SSA will ask you to appoint someone who you see often and who cares about your well-being.

Your representative payee will receive your payments for you and must use the money to pay for any of your current needs. Once those expenses have been paid, your payee may use the rest of the money to pay past-due bills you have accrued, save the money for your future use, or give you an “entertainment budget” so you can enjoy a movie or meal out of the house.

In addition to being responsible for helping you make sure your bills are paid, your representative payee is responsible for informing SSA about any events that could change the amount of, or affect your right to receive, benefits. Your representative payee will also be responsible to SSA to provide a written accounting of how the money was spent.

It is also important to note that having power of attorney or being an authorized representative is not the same thing as being able to be a representative payee. Those arrangements do not give you legal authority to negotiate or manage a beneficiary’s Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

If you believe you no longer need a representative payee, you can show SSA that you are now mentally and physically able to handle your money yourself. You could do this by providing a doctor’s statement or an official court order saying that you can take care of yourself. However, if doing so gives SSA the understanding that you are no longer disabled and eligible for disability payments, your benefits may be cut off.

If you are disabled and need an advocate to fight for your right to benefits, contact us by phone at (904) 777-7777, or email us using our contact form.

Harris Guidi Rosner