Monday, December 22, 2014

Representative Payees Help Manage Social Security Payments for Others

Q:       My neighbor, who receives Supplemental Security Income, can no longer manage her benefits and has asked for help. What can I do?
A:        You, or someone your neighbor may suggest, might consider applying to become a “representative payee.” A representative payee is someone who receives Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on behalf of a person who is not capable of managing the funds on his or her own. If you were to become a representative payee for your neighbor, you would be responsible for making sure her basic needs are met by using the SSI money to provide her with food, clothing and shelter, and by saving any leftover money in an interest-bearing account or savings bond for your neighbor’s future needs. The Social Security office will work with you to determine if your neighbor needs a payee and who would be best suited to act in that capacity.

Q:       If I decide to apply to be my neighbor’s representative payee, what would be required?
A:        As your neighbor’s representative payee, you must:
·       know your neighbor’s needs so you can decide the best way to meet those needs with the benefits provided;
·       be responsible for letting the Social Security Administration know about any changes that may affect your neighbor’s eligibility for benefits or the payment amount; and
·       complete a yearly report of how the funds were spent. (You can do this online.)

Q:       Where can I get more information?
A:        To learn more, read A Guide for Representative Payees, available through Also, visit the web page titled, “When People Need Help Managing Their Money,” available through

The information for this “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Social Security Administration. It was prepared by the Ohio State Bar Association. Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.

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