Understanding Social Security Disability Representative Payees

When a worker becomes too ill to work, they might apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The amount provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows those not able to work at their jobs with a small income to pay for the expenses of living. Unfortunately, some SSDI recipients are unable to properly deal with the financial benefits of SSDI. Read on to learn more about Social Security representative payees.

When Is a Representative Payee Needed?

SSDI recipients who exhibit the following issues may need to have another person or organization put in charge of their Social Security benefit money:

  • Those who are mentally ill
  • Those with dementia or other ailments that affect cognitive abilities
  • Those who are physically disabled and vulnerable to those who might take advantage of them
  • Those addicted to drugs or alcohol

Who Are Representative Payees?

Almost anyone can take on this role but it is often a friend or loved one of the recipient that applies to the SSA for approval. When no one else can take on this role, the SSA may require that an organization take on the role of representative payee. Organizations exist for this sole purpose and the SSA allows them to charge a fee for their services. Both individuals and payee organizations must undergo an approval process that includes background checks, an application, and an interview with the SSA.

What Are the Responsibilities of the Representative Payee?

The payee is responsible for making sure that the recipient has food, clothing, and shelter. If finances allow, the payee must provide the funds to the recipient for recreational or other needs. Any money not spend should be saved for future uses. The payee must keep up with all funds spent and received. The SSA requires some representative payees to submit a record of expenses yearly.

In some cases, the recipient is eligible to receive a lump sum payment from the SSA. These funds may be used to improve the living situation of the recipient, pay a large bill, for medical or dental needs, etc. For example, if the recipient wishes to move to another location, the lump sum can be used for the housing deposit and other moving expenses.

If you or a loved one has been turned down for benefits, you are entitled to an appeal. Speak with a Social Security disability lawyer to learn more about what legal representation can do for you.