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Who Needs A Representative Payee?


If you feel you cannot handle your own funds, you may request the appointment of a Representative Payee to receive your Social Security benefits and pay your bills.

Social Security believes you are unable (mentally or physically) to manage your own funds: Social Security may require that a Representative Payee be appointed .

Children Under Age 18: A Payee is usually appointed to receive benefits on behalf of a child under age 18. If you are under 18, see Beneficiary Under Age 18.

If you think you are unable to manage your Social Security benefit, or may be approaching that situation, consider appointing a Power of Attorney or asking the court to appoint a Guardian to handle your money instead of a Representative Payee.

  • It is simpler to create a Power of Attorney than a Representative Payee,
  • You have total discretion over the identity of the person, and
  • The person has more authority than a Representative Payee to handle your affairs. Both Attorneys and Guardians have more authority than Representative Payees. For example, they have the ability to compromise a debt or negotiate with your landlord. See Survivorship A to Z's articles on Power of Attorney and Guardians. Perhaps you should also ask one of those people to review your financial situation in its entirety. See Financial Planning and Estate Planning.

If you want the person who represents you to also be able to access information about your Social Security benefits, and otherwise act on your behalf with Social Security, you will also have to have the person named as Representative Payee or otherwise specifically request it in writing. Social Security does not recognize the power of attorney for purposes of managing benefit payments.

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