What is a representative payee?

Managing your finances is difficult when dealing with a disability. It is easy to fall behind on bills when faced with physical and mental limitations. Should these difficulties occur while you receive Supplemental Security Income, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will take steps to protect you.

According to the SSA, a representative payee is a person who receives benefits on your behalf and oversees your financial responsibilities. Here are a few things you can expect should you receive a payee from the SSA.

Payee responsibilities

Your payee takes over your financial responsibilities to ensure you remain in good standing and have your needs covered. This entails buying food, paying bills, taking care of medical expenses, purchasing personal care items and clothing, and saving leftover funds for your benefit. They must also track spending and expenses to provide information to you as well as the SSA.

Payee selection

The SSA usually selects a person close to you, someone, who already plays a significant role in your life. This person will better understand your needs and may already have a good idea of what your finances look like.

During advance designation, you can inform the SSA of three people you would like to serve as your payee should the need arise. Professionals like attorneys and nursing homes can also serve as payees if no other person is available and qualified to do so.

What to do about disputes

While the SSA selects payees in the best interests of the person receiving benefits, disputes can arise. You may dispute the need for assistance, or you might find fault with the SSA’s selection. In this case, you have until 60 days after receiving notice of your payee to appeal the decision by sending a letter to the SSA.

You are also allowed to change payees after the 60 periods. To do so, your new selection must submit an application to the SSA for consideration. You should also tell your current payee about the change.

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