Helping a loved one as representative payee
Vonda Van Til
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
The aged and people with disabilities may need extra assistance to manage their finances. If you have a loved one who needs your help, you may be able to become a representative payee. A representative payee receives the beneficiary’s payments and is given the authority to manage them on the beneficiary’s behalf.
We recognize that turning personal finances over to someone else is a big deal, so we make sure the beneficiary needs the help and that the proposed representative is the best person to offer that help. We also may monitor that you spend the benefits appropriately on behalf of the beneficiary. If we choose you to serve as a representative payee, the appointment is only to manage Social Security and SSI funds, not to manage non-Social Security money or medical matters.
As a representative payee, you must know what the beneficiary’s needs are so you can decide the best use of benefits for their care and well-being. Each year, Social Security may ask you to complete an annual Representative Payee Report to account for the benefits you’ve received and spent on their behalf.
You can either fill out the form and return it to Social Security or go online at socialsecurity.gov/payee to file the report.
Due to a recent change in the law, we no longer require the following payees to complete the annual report:
• Natural or adoptive parents of a minor child beneficiary who primarily reside in the same household as the child.
• Legal guardians of a minor child beneficiary who primarily reside in the same household as the child
• Natural or adoptive parents of a disabled adult beneficiary who primarily reside in the same household with the beneficiary.
• Spouse of a beneficiary.
We’ve also made it easier for caregivers who are representative payees to do business with us. If you’re a representative payee, check out the new Representative Payee Portal at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount, which lets representative payees conduct their own business or manage direct deposits, wage reporting and annual reporting for their beneficiaries.
Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan. You may write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email to email@example.com.