following is an article developed by the
Social Security Administration to assist
people in understanding the purpose of
being a Social Security
If your friend or family member is no
longer capable of managing their
finances, this article is meant for you.
BECOMING A PAYEE MAY BE THE BEST WAY TO HELP
by: Wendy Poulson
Social Security District Manager in Glen
a loved one, friend or neighbor receives
Social Security or Supplemental Security
Income (SSI) benefits but is no longer
physically or mentally able to take care
of his or her financial affairs, you may
want to consider becoming a
representative payee. Then, you’ll be able to help them with managing their
in mind that being a representative
payee is not the same as having power of
Even if you do have power of
attorney, you will need to apply to be a
representative payee in order to have
the benefit payments made to you on the
we learn that a person is no longer able
to handle his or her own Social Security
or SSI benefits, we conduct a careful
investigation and appoint a relative,
friend or other interested party to
serve as the representative payee.
This means that if you agree to
be a representative payee and we appoint
you, we pay you the person’s benefits
to use on his or her behalf.
a representative payee, you would be
responsible for using the benefit
payments to help meet the basic needs of
Primarily, the funds should be
used to provide food, clothing, shelter,
utilities and other essential needs for
the person eligible for benefits. As a
representative payee, you need to be
aware of the beneficiary’s needs so
you can decide how benefits can best be
used for his or her personal care and
year, Social Security will mail you a
form to account for the benefits you
have received. The quickest and easiest
way to complete the form is online, at www.socialsecurity.gov/payee.
can also complete the paper form and
return it to Social Security.
a representative payee, you will also
need to tell Social Security about
changes that may affect the
This includes things like changes
in living arrangements, other income,
you decide you want to help someone by
becoming their representative payee,
you’re in good company. More than seven million people who get monthly Social
Security or SSI payments each month have
a representative payee because they need
help managing their money.
agreeing to serve as a representative
payee, you have taken on an important
responsibility — one that can make a
positive difference in both the
beneficiary’s life and your own.
more by reading our online booklet, A
Guide For Representative Payees,
available on our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10076.html.
more about Social Security by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov.