Understanding the need for a representative payee


By Kylle’ D. McKinney

Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

You 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.  Learn more about the portal at www.ssa.gov/myaccount/rep-payee.html.

You also have the option to identify, in advance, up to three individuals 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.  Find more information about: 

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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