Many people rely on Social Security (SS) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to pay for their healthcare and costs of living. However, some beneficiaries can't cope with the responsibility of handling their finances.
In order to allow beneficiaries who are retired or disabled to make the most of these payments, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can appoint someone close to the beneficiary to manage monthly benefits.
This person is called the representative payee.
Situations When Social Security Beneficiaries May Need Representative Payees
In some cases, beneficiaries of SS or SSI payments may have conditions that prevent them from making the best choices about their care and financial wellbeing. When this happens, the SSA grants control of the payments to a representative payee, who takes responsibility for the needs of the SS or SSI recipient.
Representative payees may be needed for:
- Beneficiaries with mental conditions. People who are mentally ill or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may struggle to handle their own finances.
- Beneficiaries with drug or alcohol addictions. SS and SSI benefits arrive in monthly payments, making it easy for beneficiaries with addiction problems to misuse funds. Payees can help beneficiaries by paying bills on their behalf, buy groceries, and give them only small amounts of spending money. Payees can also be trusted to return any overages in disability funds to the SSA.
- Beneficiaries who are vulnerable to financial abuse. Beneficiaries are expected to save any money from disability payments that's not immediately needed for their care. If a beneficiary could be at risk from caretakers in nursing homes or unscrupulous relatives, a representative payee may be appointed to protect the beneficiary from theft.
- Beneficiaries who are minor children. Parents can be appointed representative payees if their children qualify for SS or SSI benefits.
It should be noted that representative payees cannot withhold any funds from beneficiaries, even if they think it's the right thing to do. Beneficiaries are entitled to receive some money for discretionary spending, even if the payee does not approve of the purchases they make. The payee can only act in the best interests of the beneficiary, not exercise complete control over his or her life.
Are you still trying to get the benefits you rightly deserve? Call us today or fill out the form on this page to have us take over the fight for your Social Security payments.