Are you or a loved one having a difficult time managing money and receiving Social Security payments? If this is the case, Social Security may find you or your loved one to be a candidate for the Representative Payment Program. We will talk more about this program and who it is for here.
What Is The Social Security Representative Payment Program?
If the Social Security Administration (SSA) has reason to believe you are having trouble managing your money, then an investigation into your money management ability will be triggered. Payment made directly to you by the SSA will pause until the investigation has finished and a decision rendered. Should the SSA find that you need assistance in managing your money, then a representative payee under the Representative Payment Program will be assigned to you. You have 60 days to appeal the decision of the SSA to assign you a representative payee. This can be done by contacting the SSA.
The SSA’s Representative Payment Program is a payment management program for those beneficiaries found incapable of managing Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Usually, the representative payee is someone who sees you regularly and wants to support you in meeting your needs. This is why the SSA often looks to friends or family members to serve as representative payees. Should a family member or friend be unavailable or unwilling to serve, the SSA will turn to qualified organizations. The option to plan ahead for the possible need for a representative payee can also be taken advantage of as a beneficiary can designate up to three people who could serve as representative payee should the need arise.
The representative payee receives your benefits payment from Social Security. The payment must be used to pay for the current needs of the beneficiary. Once needs have been met, the representative payee can take care of other expenses, such as past-due bills or entertainment for the beneficiary. Should all expenses be covered, the money left from the benefits payment can be set aside and saved for future use.
All representative payees used to be required to submit an annual Representative Payee Report. Recent changes in the law mean that all representative payees do not need to do so. More specifically, the following representative payees are not required to file an annual Representative Payee Report:
- Natural parents, adoptive parents, or legal guardians of a minor child beneficiary who mostly live in the same household as the minor;
- Natural parents or adoptive parents of a disabled adult beneficiary who mostly live in the same household as the beneficiary; and
- Spouse beneficiaries.
Despite the fact that some representative payees are no longer obligated to submit a completed annual Representative Payee Report, all payees must keep records as to how benefit payments are spent or saved. All such records must be maintained and made available to the SSA upon request. For those Representative Payees that are required to complete the Representative Payee Report, the SSA will mail the report to be completed.