When Martha’s water was turned off because she forgot to pay the bill, she knew it might be time to get help. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the money to pay the water bill because she had forgotten to turn some important paperwork into the Social Security Administration (SSA). Her primary source of income was the disability payments she received from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and they had been suspended. Like many other SSDI recipients, Martha needed a representative payee to handle her SSDI claim.
What Is a Representative Payee?
Both individuals and organizations may serve as representative payees. They help SSDI recipients manage their disability payments.
At some point, regardless of age, an SSDI beneficiary may appear unable to handle their disability benefits. Minor children and legally incompetent people generally need a representative payee.
What Are His or Her Duties?
Generally, a representative payee will have the following responsibilities:
- Receive the beneficiary’s SSDI benefits.
- Use the money to pay for the beneficiary’s current and future needs.
- Save any unspent funds for the beneficiary’s future use.
- Keep receipts and other records of expenses.
- Report any changes in your ability to serve.
- Return overpayments to the SSA.
- Return money to the SSA after you cease being the representative payee.
- Provide reports to the SSA of how the payee used the beneficiary’s benefits.
The responsibilities listed here are similar to those given through a power of attorney. However, a power of attorney does not give anyone the authority to be a representative payee.
How Can Someone Get a Representative Payee?
SSA staff may notice problems with a recipient’s account and investigate to see if a representative payee should be appointed.
However, sometimes it may become obvious that an SSDI recipient is having trouble managing disability payments. If so, a person or organization may submit Form SSA-11 (Request to Be Selected as Payee). There’s usually a face-to-face meeting with SSA staff before the request is approved.
A Disability Attorney Can Help Every Step of the Way.
If you or someone you know is having trouble managing disability benefits, it may be time to consider having a representative payee appointed.
For a free consultation with an experienced Social Security attorney, consult with an attorney at The Law Offices of Martin Taller. Call us at 714-385-8100. We assist clients through Southern California from our home office in Anaheim.