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Senior Options, Inc.

Social Security Representative Payees

By: Kim Tophen ~ Professional Conservator
Source: MAGiC Journal - Volume 14, Number 2 - 2003

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What a Representative Payee is
A Representative Payee (Rep Payee) is an individual or organization that receives Social Security, Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), or Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI) payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of someone who cannot manage or direct someone else to manage his or her money. The main responsibility as a Rep Payee is to use the Social Security funds to pay for the current and future needs of the Social Security beneficiary.

How to apply to be a Representative Payee
Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) office to request form SSA-ll "Request To Be Selected As Payee" (it is not available online). This may require a face-to-face interview. The application can also be completed by phone. To complete this application the following information needs to be provided:

  • Current Address of Beneficiary
  • Why the beneficiary needs a Rep Payee (diagnosis)
  • Name and address of current physician
  • Checking account number and bank routing number for direct deposit
  • Rep Payee's name and address
  • Original documents showing the Rep Payee's relationship to the beneficiary, such as Letters of Conservatorship, POA, etc. (Originals will be returned)
  • Explanation on how the Rep Payee will be kept informed of the beneficiary's needs

What the Representative Payee reporting requirements are
The Rep Payee must promptly report to the SSA when any of the following changes occur:

  • Beneficiary dies
  • Beneficiary moves
  • Beneficiary marriage or divorce
  • Name change
  • Beneficiary stops or starts working
  • Beneficiary no longer needs a Rep Payee
  • Change in direct deposit accounts
  • Beneficiary leaves the U.S. for more than 30 days
  • Conviction of a criminal offense (of either the beneficiary or the Rep Payee)

The Rep Payee must also file an annual report (called Representative Payee Report) with the SSA showing what was spent and how the assets are titled, among other things. The SSA requires that the Rep Payee keep records for a minimum of 2 years.

What the Representative Payee cannot do
Rep Payees CANNOT do the following listed below. If you are solely the Rep Payee these will all apply:

  • Use funds for anything other than the beneficiary's needs
  • Use funds in a way that does not meet the beneficiary's basic living needs
  • Place funds in the Rep Payee's or another person's account
  • Charge the beneficiary for services, unless authorized by SSA (see below)
  • Keep funds if the Rep Payee is no longer appointed
  • Make medical decisions
  • Sign legal documents other than Social Security ones
  • Have legal authority over earned income, pensions or income from other sources

How Representative Payees are paid
A Rep Payee is NOT paid for their services except for a few exceptions when the Rep Payee is an organizational Rep Payee. These are called "fee-for-service" payees. An organizational Rep Payee must be a non-profit organization which is pre-established with the SSA. These organizations are subject to audit by the SSA. If qualified as an organizational Rep Payee, fees are set at $30 per month.

The SSA can be located at (800) 772-1213 Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. The local Minneapolis office can be reached at (612) 870-2004 Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Avoid calling on the first and third of the month as these tend to be the busiest days of the month. There is also a full service Internet website at This is a wonderful resource where one can download all publications and can acquire all necessary forms. There are also very resourceful books that can be ordered.

Railroad Retirement Beneficiaries
Representative payees may also be appointed for Railroad Retirement Beneficiaries. Beneficiaries receive a 15-day notice before the appointment is effective to allow the beneficiary a period of time to contest the appointment. The Railroad Retirement Board field offices determine the need for a representative payee and interviews potential payees. The St. Paul field office is located at 180 E. 5th Street, Suite 195, St. Paul, MN 55101-1631 or it may be reached at (651) 290-3491.

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Disclaimer: Information provided is for information only and should not be considered as legal reference.

Senior Options, Inc.
Kim Tophen
PO Box 980
Brainerd, MN 56401-0980
Senior Options, Inc. Bonded and Insured
Phone: 763-792-4472
Fax: 763-792-4492

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