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How does Social Security select a representative payee for my Social Security Disability benefit?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  290 Comments

Learn how Social Security selects a representative payee for your Social Security Disability benefit and how you can give input to the selection.

Criteria for Selecting a Representative PayeeCriteria for Selecting a Representative Payee

Social Security’s primary concerns in selecting a representative payee for payment of your Social Security Disability benefit are that the person knows you well, wants to help you, sees you often, knows your needs, and will act with integrity on your behalf. Frequently, the person who best meets these requirements is someone who lives with you, such as a relative or friend, or even a caregiver. Other times, the person who is best qualified to serve as your payee is your legal guardian or lawyer.

An organization such as a nursing home where you are residing or an agency from which you are receiving assistance may serve as payee when an private individual is not available or is not the best choice for you.

Voicing Your Preference for a Representative Payee

If you have someone you would like to have as your payee, you can tell the Social Security Administration and they will consider your request. While you have input to Social Security’s choice of payee, their decision is not appealable. However, if at any time you believe that your payee is handling your money incorrectly or dishonestly, you should notify the Social Security Administration immediately so that they can investigate whether your payee should be changed.

Please visit our article “What Is a Social Security Disability Representative Payee?” for information about payee responsibilities and our article “Do I Have to Have a Representative Payee for My Disability Payments?” for an explanation of how Social Security decides when a representative payee is required to pay your Social Security Disability benefit.

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  • Published: 11 months ago on March 3, 2016
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  • Last Modified: December 5, 2016 @ 6:19 pm
  • Filed Under: After Approval
  • Dear Brenda,

    As long as the father is giving you money for the child’s food, medical appointments, school expenses, transportation, and other needs, it is unlikely that the payee would be changed. He could even pay you for the childcare if desired. A payee change would not change anyone’s benefit amount.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ariel,

    You need to discuss this with an SSI claims representative. Your son may be considered temporarily absent from your home. If so, your income will still determine his payment amount. If you are told that deeming (counting your income) stops, request that determination in writing in case the question ever comes up in the future.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Renaee

    My mother receives disability benefits and has been staying with a relative caregiver for over three years. Recently, my mother was hospitalized and it became very clear to my brother and I that if anything happened to either my mother and/or our relative, we knew nothing concerning my mother’s financial affairs. Due to my mother’s fragile health condition, I did not want to address this with her and went directly to my relative. My relative has refused to provide this information. Is there a disclosure or release of information form my mother can sign just so I will be aware of what she receives?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Renaee,

      Your mother, if mentally capable, can sign an authorization for Social Security to provide you with a benefit verification letter. Note that any benefit that she is receiving would stop with her death. If the caregiver were to die and your mother couldn’t handle her affairs, you could file an application with the Social Security Administration to be her representative payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • My spouse and I recently married and my spouse receives disability benefits. My spouse was jailed and it has been determined that the time spent will not even be 30 days. Spouse and I both reside in same home of course with my child. The utility bills are in my name because my spouse has many mental issues that do prevent her from doing things that require being social with others. My spouse’s payee has paid the rent with the benefits but is refusing to pay any of the bills because my spouse’s name isn’t on them despite knowing we do share a home. I just lost my job due to it closing for reasons of which we were not told. Is there anything I can do that will essentially force ( for lack of a better term) her to pay the bills with the rest of the funds?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shawna,

      If your spouse will continue to be eligible for benefits because she will be in jail for less than thirty days (less than a month for SSI), so benefits will be due. Perhaps if you and your spouse confirm to the payee the date our spouse will be released and that your spouse is returning to your home and that she will need to have the utilities on for her shelter needs to be met, the payee will pay the bills. Otherwise, you can let them go overdue and hope the payee will pay once your spouse is back in the home.

      You can also call the utility companies and ask to have you spouse’s name put on the accounts and the bills. That way, when you get the past-due bills, they will have her name on them. If the problem continues with the payee, one option would be for you to file to be payee for your spouse. (Be sure to apply for unemployment benefits for yourself while you look for a job and you may be eligible for food stamps.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Marie

    Hi my spouse is in the hospital and there sibling is there healthcare proxy. Can I as there spouse apply to be representative payee so their bills get paid? And if we both applied who would get it the sibling or I? Thank you 🙂

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marie,

      You can apply to be your husband’s payee if he is mentally incapable of directing the use of his benefits. If both of you and your husband’s sibling apply to be payee, Social Security will make a judgment on who should be payee based on the circumstances. Note that if you are made payee, you can probably use your husband’s benefits to maintain your and his home only if there is an expectation that he will be able to return to it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ken puckett

    I was my sister in laws payee about 5 years when she living with us. She has a mental disability. She moved away and got other payees throughout the past 5 years. Now she is moving back with us. Am I allowed to be her payee again?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ken,

      Yes, you can apply to be payee as soon as she returns to your residence.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Estela

    Hi my name is Estela and I’m my son’s representative payee since he was two-and-a-half years old he’s disabled and he has severe autism he is now 12 years old and I started working a couple months ago part-time but my 18 year old daughter has been watching him most of the time we all live under the same home and it’s becoming harder and harder for me to watch him during the day and then still have to go to work at night so I was wondering if this is getting too much for me can I quit my job and still be able to get some help like a representative payee for my daughter or myself for taking care of him because it’s starting to interfere with my job.?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Estela,

      Being representative payee for your child means that you are in charge of his benefits and responsible for using them for his care. Being his payee is not related to how you obtain child care for him. You can choose to use the benefits for child care for him if his and your income are enough to allow for that. You might also contact your state or county social services office to see if you qualify for any child care assistance while you work or whether you or your daughter can be paid In-Home Support Services (IHSS) payments for caring for your son.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Annie

    I am receiving ssdi. I am the legal representatime payee for my children.
    I just received a letter stating that my children will be receiving a payment for monies that were due to them that there father had collected for 3 years. When I was the payee and the higher benefit receiver.
    I understand that the monies are due to the children and I am the payee but I’m kinda confused. I believe that this is monies he collected as a payee when he wasn’t entitled.
    Is thsee monies that he can come after me aND try to take back

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Annie,

      If the money that is being forwarded to you was collected from their father because he was receiving it when they were not in his care and he did not spend it on the children, then, no, he cannot come after you for it. It is the children’s money and should be used for them or saved for future needs such as vocational training or post-secondary education. You will have to account for the money in your next payee accounting report.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • XE

    I get SSI and I want to assist a fellow friend I’ve
    know since childhood. Could the fact that I get SSI,
    be used against me in possably denying my friends
    request for me to be a payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Xe,

      If you receive your own benefits without a payee, there should be no problem in serving as your friend’s payee. Just read up on your responsibilities for keeping spending records and using funds, so that the annual accounting will be easy.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jennifer

    My son who is 15 gets SSI since he was about 5. He spent a few years with his dad and then in foster care so his SSI has moved several times in the last 10years.
    Three years ago he came to live with me full time, but because of a mix up (I owed SSI for a month of pay sent to me, but should have gone to state for foster care-Ive since paid this amount) We had my dad (his grandpa) become his payee.
    This didn’t seem to be an issue at 1st and he was receiving the full amount (same that he had been getting since 5yrs old +/- a little adjustments based on cost of living) My dad has kept very good track of all receipts and making sure his needs are met.
    Now we are getting tons of letters and request for my financial information and they want y pay stubs going clear back to 2014. I work a job as a seasonal employee, so 3-4 months a year I am unemployed. So my income fluctuates a lot. My dad calls and notifies them when I’m working and when I’m not, as he was instructed to do.
    I guess my question if why all of a sudden do they want to look all the way back to 2014? Why do I have to provide paper pay stubs? Cant they do like DCF/SRS and pull this information up? Why do they change his amount SO much each month (example; one month it was $550, then it was taken down to almost nothing $25 and then brought back up) Why does it fluctuate SO much? They act like I make a tone of money (I don’t, my 2015 total income for the year was less then $19K and I’m a single mother of 2-no child support, no cash assistance, ect!) and my son should not get SSI because of this??? SO the month they cut his money I should just not pay for his needs? Would I be better off being his payee now that I do not owe SSI for the over payment (happened in 2011) Also, why can I not speak to anyone about this??? I am his mother and they refuse to talk to me or let me in the appointments-YET want to probe me for 3 years of financial information!?! If my dad has done or not done something to cause this investigation, shouldn’t they look at HIS income and not mine or let me know HE may not be a good option for a payee.
    I’m frustrated and confused! Any advice is helpful, Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      Your income is considered in determining your son’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for all months he lives with you regardless of who is payee. While the child’s grandfather is payee, you and he can go to Social Security together so you can get information directly. Or, you can file to be payee and do all the reporting and accounting.

      The pay stubs have been requested because the Social Security Administration (SSA) has to determine your child’s benefit amount month-by-month. If you don’t have the stubs, ask for a payroll printout or other statement for your employer that shows gross earnings by pay period. I don’t know why SSA has waited so long to get documentation of the earnings that have been reported; however, the review should not be a problem if the payee has been reporting the monthly changes as apparently he has been.

      It can be hard to manage expenses when benefits go up and down because as long as your son is eligible every month, your wages change his benefit two months later. This means the months that you are paid the most work earnings could be months that the SSI is the highest. Because of this, you need to put back money for the months SSI is down, when your work earnings might be down also. To do this, it might be helpful to figure the average monthly SSI your son was paid last year and not spend more than that average each month, saving the rest for months when SSI is down.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Breana

    Ive had custody of a 17 yr old for 2 years now and i recieve her ssi benefits…I do everything to take care of her lole im suppose too…Tonight we had a heated argument and ahe took her and her 5 month old babies things and left..Im obviously still her payee because it the middle of the night but if ahe tries to take someone else to the ssi office to be her payee will they be able to and what should i do being i am her leagal gurdian

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Breana,

      First, try to locate your daughter and mend fences. If you can get her to come back home, problem solved. If she stays away and you do not know where she is, you can ask Social Security to suspend her payments until you locate her and can report her new living arrangements. (Living arrangements affect Supplemental Security Income [SSI] payment amount. If she is getting Social Security dependent benefits, not SSI, living arrangements won’t matter, but you can still have benefits suspended.)

      If she tries to have different adult serve as her payee and she lives with the adult, the payee could be changed. When you locate her, you can decide whether you can work out a way to continue as payee and pay for her housing, food, medical, and clothing needs where she is. If so, you can explain your plan and request that Social Security keep you as payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sarah Morgan

    My daughters dad somehow became her representative payee. He has been receiving money for her for the past 10 years. She has lived with me full time since birth he doesn’t pay child support. An investigation has just been started after I proved she has been living with me. I know he will have to pay back what he took, but will my daughter get a lump sum for all those years he has been stealing it?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sarah,

      If Social Security can collect the misused funds, the money will be reissued to your daughter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • joe

    I have full custody of my 3 year old son. I am His rep payee. His mother is fighting for joint custody. If she gets joint custody can my rights as the payee be taken away and given to her? She had her rights as payee taken away. Is she eligiable again?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joe,

      If the child continues to live half time or more with you, you can continue to be payee. If joint custody is approved, report this to Social Security and ask that your child’s claim be flagged that the child is still with you and that you wish to continue to be payee. If you remain payee, you should give your son’s mother money for his food and anything else you agree she will purchase for him each time that he stays with her. Get a carbon-copy receipt book and get her signature on the receipt every time that you transfer money.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Patsy

    My sister is payee for my brother, who receives SSDI. She wants me to start planning to take over this function. I am also on SSDI but I do not require a payee. Is this legal?

    She also placed my name on a trust for this same brother as it’s caretaker, without asking me. Is that legal?

    My own disability is mental, as is my brothers. The whole idea of dealing with him, his money, and his trust makes me want throw up. I had him living with me, was his payee for almost 2 years, and it was more than problematic for me mentally, emotionally and physically. Am I legally forced to do any of it? I don’t want to, so doesn’t that relieve me of the problem?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patsy,

      You cannot become payee for your brother without completing a payee application with the Social Security Administratio, so you are in control of that part of the situation. That said, you may need legal advice about being made a trustee for your brother’s trust. I am not an expert in that field, but I would think you would have to agree in writing. You might also clarify the situation with your sister; maybe she just put you on as a back up in the event of her death or incapacity.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Marcia

    When a disabled child’s custody changes from one parent to another, how is it determined who the child’s benefits are paid to? My son in law gained custody of his disabled child on June 10 and her mother is still receiving her checks. The local SSI agent told them that the mother was eligible to receive checks for July and August because the child was VISITING her on the 1st of each of those months. Can it possibly be correct that she (the mother) receives the child’s benefits while the father pays the costs of supporting the child? The child is 12.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marcia,

      Your son-in-law needs to formally apply to be payee if the child lives with him most of the time and his home is the child’s residence. If the child visits her mother a few days a month, he should give the mother some money for the child’s food and get a receipt each time he transfers money to her.

      The exact day of the month that the child visits is not relevant; what is relevant is which household is the child’s residence and which parent is the parent with visitation rights. The SSI payment amount or disabled children depends in part on the income and assets of the parent(s) with whom the child resides. When your son-in-law files to be payee, it would be helpful for him to submit a copy of the court order that shows he has been given physical custody and the mother only has visitation rights in her home.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Diane

    My 16 yr old daughter lives with her Dad and gets benefits from my disability. I’m concerned because she tells me that he had no medical insurance on her and if she doesn’t feel good he won’t let her go to the doctor unless it’s really bad. Also she is so stressed out over working 2 jobs and bought her own car, pays for insurance, had, repairs on it with no help from him. She asks for some specific groceries as she is an athlete, and he won’t buy them or give her money for the store. She is losing weight, not eating, not sleeping, crying all the time. He lives with her, his girlfriend and her 2 kids in a 400,000 dollar house. I feel like he should be providing for her medical insurance needs, car needs, give her some say on groceries, etc. He gets 490.00 a month for her. Yet he bought a dune buggy and a semi truck and gets his liquor. Would you consider this miss handling of funds? If I became her rep payee would the income be counted as part of my household income for my state benefits like medical and snap?

    • Diane

      I meant to say pays gas, not had.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Diane,

      If you become payee for your daughter, her benefits will not count as yours for any benefits you receive because they belong to her. If you think your daughter’s needs are not being met and that her money is being used for someone else, you can report that to Social Security. If you become payee, you have to give your daughter’s father money for her general food. Be sure to keep cancelled checks or other proof of transferring the funds. Then you can give your daughter money for her special food needs and necessary clothing. She may qualify for health insurance under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If so, you could use some of her funds for insurance premiums, if any, and for any deductibles and co-pays. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov. As an aside, you mention your daughter working. If she is earning more than $15,720 a year, her benefits will be reduced one dollar for each two dollars earned over the limit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Paige

    Hello. I’m writing because I have a question… My husband passed away unexpectedly on May 7th. I went to our local ss office on the 20th to find out what I needed to do. At that time they set me up for the 255.00 death benefit and also informed me our 8yr old would receive 75% of his earnings starting June 3rds payment. On June 3 she received a check for 194. Which was what she had been receiving while my husband was alive.. I contacted the local office to find out what was going on they told me the updates were still pending and I would receive a letter explaining her benefits once things were finalized. A few days later I received a letter stating her payments would be 194.00 confused I called ss and was told that I would receive a new letter once things were finished. But on July 3rd her payment was still only 194.00 this time I went to the local office here in Houston (they forward their calls to the national hotline everyday so nothing gets accomplished by phone!) Due to the fact I’m about to lose our home the ss office cut me a check for julys missing payment and contacted the payment center to find out when I would have the arrears n amount for her benefit adjusted. At that time the supervisor was told the payment center would have the benefit adjusted in 2_3 weeks. Worse case scenario everything would be finalized by the 20th of July. Today is the 29th and when I called the phone was forwarded and I waited patiently to talk to someone and see if things were updated yet. The rep stated nothing was changed but it went from the payment center to the claims authorizer on the 26th of July. I’m very frustrated because she stated that although this is “promising” it by no means meant that her benefit that’s scheduled for 7-3 is probably still only going to be for the 194. Is there someone I can talk to that can help me find out what is going on? My husband passed away in out home. My daughter is traumatized and if we have to leave our home it will destroy her. I need to know her money will be there so we can continue our lives and begin to heel. Any help would be great! Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Paige,

      Your best bet is to go to the local office again and ask for another adjustment check if the survivor rate was not received on August 3. Neither you nor the local office can speed up the payment center. If that doesn’t work out, you could also try contacting your congressperson’s office to see if they will contact the payment center to follow up on your behalf. Sometimes a congressional inquiry speeds things up.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Deborah Moreno

    My Mom died which was my payee, NOW they have put a hold on my SSI till i get a new one. My husband is from mexico and doesn’t have a SS# but can he still be my payee? Help I can’t pay my bills.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deborah,

      If your husband does not have legal immigration status, I doubt he can be your payee. I suggest that you ask a trustworthy relative or close friend to serve as your payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Miko Smith

    I have a neighbor who has an 4yr old down syndrome child who gets 733$ ssi and 250$ dds …..The mother has a drug addiction and she constantly uses the money for her habit….the child gets nothing , although she keeps him fed she neglects to provide him with his basic necessities he needs such as diapers , clothing and programs he needs. …my concern is should I report her to ssi without her losing her benefits completely..I just think someone else should receive the money for him since she uses it mostly for dtugs….what can I do….

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Miko,

      You can report what you have observed to Social Security and/or to children’s protective services.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Amanda

    My mom had an aneurysm and a stroke and is currently in a rehab facility. Since this situation I have been taking care of my special needs little sister who is 23-years-old. I applied to become her representative payee and I was told it takes a while. I am cool with that but my mother’s rent is past due and next month is around the corner. I have access to her her debit cards and I paid what I could with them such as her utilities. I also paid my utilities too because my husband and I have spent our own bill money coming back and forth handling my mother’s affairs. Will we get it in trouble for that even if paying our bills directly benefit my special needs little sister who is currently staying with us?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amanda,

      You can use some of your sister’s benefits to pay your utilities bills because she is living with you. In fact, your sister’s money should be used pay her share of shelter expenses (and food expenses if you share food) in your household. Share is the total shelter (and food if food is shared) costs divided by the number of people in the household. Shelter expenses are shelter utilities (power, heat, water/sewer, and garbage) and rent or mortgage, property tax and, if required by the lender, property insurance. If she does not pay her share or pay fair market value for room and board, her SSI benefits (if she is receiving SSI and not Social Security) will be reduced.

      You should not use your mother’s benefits to pay your household’s expenses. Accordingly, the way you could correct this error is to treat the money from your mother as a loan to your sister and, when your sister’s benefits are changed to your name use your sister’s money to repay the amount you used of your mother’s money to keep the utilities on. It would also be reasonable to use some of your mother’s money to pay for the gas used to take care of her business.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sheri

    I am the payee for my disabled adult son. He now has a child i applied for benefits on his record the child now lives in my home . First i was told to bring the mother in to approve myself being thd payee for the child i did that and now was told i need to be the childs gaurdian to be his payee is this true? On ss website it says close relative or gaurdian.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sheri,

      You do not have to be the guardian of the child to serve as the child’s payee. The fact that the child lives with you makes you a good choice as payee. If the representative continues to insist that guardianship is needed, ask to have the regulations shown to you that say so. The representative will not be able to do that because there are none. If you can’t get it straightened out with the representative, ask to speak to a supervisor or manager.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Donna

    I was recently awarded fully favorable SSDI. The judge recommended that I have a representative payee. I live with my 18 yr old son who just finished his junior year in high school. I plan to apply for dependent benefits for him. My question is – can I make a request for my son to be my payee? I read that one can receive benefits and, also, be a representative payee. But would he be accepted since he is still in high school (although over 18)? We have an appointment Wednesday to meet with Social Security but wanted to know if it a valid request. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Donna,

      Yes, your son can be your payee because he is legally of age even though he is still a “dependent” for Social Security benefit purposes. Do understand, though, that you will have to give up your mom role regarding the money and let him manage the money, pay the rent, utilities, and make the decisions on how the rest is spent. I suggest that you consider whether you can do that and not get into arguments if you want something different done with the money than he decides because that could have a negative impact on your relationship with him. Note that your son has to file a payee application, so he needs to go with you to the office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Donna

        I trust my son to make well informed decisions. He’s already been a big help to me so he would be a perfect choice. Thank you Kay for your reply. Have a great Sunday!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Donna.

      • Donna

        I do have an additional question. Part of my appointment with the local SS office is to see if I’m eligible for SSI. My award letter stated my SSDI monthly benefit to be an amount over $733 (the SSI FBR). So I’m assuming I will not be SSI eligible. Am I correct? Also, I am currently receiving Medicaid. I received notice that I am now going to be on Medicare. I read that Medicaid might pay my Part B premiums. Will the SS office be able to assist me with that or do I need to contact my Medicaid office?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Donna,

          Because you are currently receiving Medicaid independent of any Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility, I suggest that you check with the Medicaid office to see if you will continue to be eligible for Medicaid after your Social Security Disability (SSD) and Medicare starts. You may be eligible for SSI for months after your SSI application up to when the first SSD is actually paid. If so, your SSD back benefits will be reduced by your SSI back benefits paid for the same period.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Phil

      Dear Donna:

      My wife and I are going through a divorce. She is on disability and our son get’s roughly $800 a month in children’s benefits from her disability. We had always saved his benefit checks in a separate account but after she disclosed her bank records as part of the divorce, I am seeing that she has opened a new account solely in her name transferred over $4000 of his funds into this account and has been buying clothes, all the household groceries, paying her mortgage and paying for entertainment out of the funds taken from his account. His monthly checks are also not being directly deposited into the bank any longer. My questions are: is it proper for a representative payee to use these funds to pay for: (1) all groceries and household sundries or must they be attributable back to the minor’s direct needs (e.g., buying cosmetics or food the minor will not use or consume) – will she have to show that every penny of the receipt was for his direct benefit if funded with his benefits; (2) If she goes out with the son, can she buy both their tickets to an event with his funds since she would need to attend with him or should she use her own funds for her ticket; (3) Buying both their meals at restaurants with these funds; (4) Paying for her own clothes with the funds; (5) Paying her complete mortgage with the funds instead of her own social security benefits; and (6) Transferring these funds into her own account. Thank you for the insight.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Phil,

        It is appropriate to use the child’s funds for at least half the mortgage, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, food, household basic supplies. It is also appropriate to pay for his entry tickets and meals out. She should pay for her own admissions and food and shelter from her own income. The child’s income available after shelter and food expenses have been paid should be spent first on his clothing, medical care, haircuts, personal toiletry items, school supplies, etc., before entertainment and an allowance. If an event is particularly for the child and the payee doesn’t have money to attend with the child and attendance is needed, then it could be reasonable for the occasional adult ticket or meal to be paid from the child’s funds. None of the money should be used for the payee’s own clothes or toilet articles or other purchases that are personal to her. Receipts are not usually required when the beneficiary is a minor child living with the parent payee. That said, she should have an account set up for the child and for clarity, she should pay everything directly off the account. It would be appropriate for her to write herself a check for shelter, food, and household items that they share.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Lisa

      Help..i need to know if a payee can baker act you…i have been foreclosed on my home..and they are threatening to remove me so they can use my card and take my card and use the last of my money,..what do i do? I need my money to move out of forclosure..

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Lisa,

        Please see my response of a few minutes ago.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • my question is that i am my sons re payee and hes 22 i have been his payee for along time he moved to Ohio in December last year and he got a new payee and the he moved back home here in Springfield,mo in may 2016 and of course it switch back to me and know he moved out with his girlfriend to Wellington,Kansas he ask me today if he can have her as his re payee i was wonder if he can or not cause i don”t know if that are in a stable housing can she still be his payee thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christina,

      In theory a non-relative can be payee, but it might be better to remain payee and pay the rent and utilities directly and send food and incidental money weekly rather than in a lump sum once a month.

      I suggest that you talk with Social Security to tell them that you are concerned that if the girlfriend becomes payee that your son will not have stable housing and that you want to continue to be payee and pay for housing directly. I don’t know the distance between Springfield and Wellington, but a visit to see the housing and set up an arrangement so the landlord knows you will be paying could be helpful also.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • thank u so much

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Christina.

  • Randall

    I have a general question, the person that receives disability is moving to another city/county, same State for college, can that person maintain the same Representative Payee or that person required to select a new one?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Randall,

      The answer depends on the circumstances. If the payee can pay the person’s rent and utilities directly to the providers and the disabled person will reliably by food and other basics with the remainder that is divided and disbursed weekly, having the same payee might be acceptable. The change of resident address requires reporting and for Supplemental Security Income can affect payment amount. I suggest that the payee and beneficiary discuss the situation with Social Security.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Randall

        Thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Randall.

    • Lisa

      Can a payee baker act you? Ihave a woman who is disturbed that i am forecloed on my home and refudes to leave and is destroying my home..her intentions are to keep my money as payee ….help!!!

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Lisa,

        I suggest that you contact Social Security and ask to have benefits suspended until you can get a new payee. Also, I suggest that you try to get help from a legal aid organization or possibly the police to remove the unwanted person from your home.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dee

    Recently my son’s mother just left him in my care . She is the custodial parent and is receiving social security benefits for his ADHD. I’m also paying child support . How do I apply to become his payee since he’s in my care? Do I have to go to court first for custody ? Can I start process and what do I need to apply ? Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dee,

      You do not have to go to court for an official custody change before applying to be your son’s payee. You can go to Social Security to apply to be your son’s payee. If the child attends school and you have reported his address change to the school and/or changed his school because of the move or reported a change in the number of residents to a landlord, school records or changed rental agreement would prove he is in your care. If you are going to stop paying child support because he is in your care, report that to Social Security. Also, be prepared to provide proof of your income and assets because they will now be considered in determining your child’s continuing eligibility and benefit amount.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ann

    I have a stepson who is 14 and has hydropsyphalis and another disability with his eyesight but I don’t know what it’s called. His mother (during their divorce/custody trial) she stated on her income and expense report she receives 1075$ in SSi for thier son she also gets child support. Later we called SSi to verify the amount and why that amount and that’s when they told my husband $600 was for his hydropsyphalis and $475 was for the eye impairment. I recently reported her with misuse of benefits because it like pulling teeth with her to make the necessary medical and dental appointments my stepson needs. at his IEP meetings and paperwork it has said that his hygiene is a major problem. He misses school at least once a week sometimes 3 times a week (unexcused). She recently has asked my hisband pay for half his dental bill because it was an out of pocket procedure due to years and years of neglect. The dentist even grilled her saying a kid his age shouldn’t be with teeth like his. She has always lived rent free and has shared a bedroom and BED with her son and up until 2 years ago when she got a low income 1 bedroom apt. She finally got a bunk bed for them both after the mediator told her it was inappropriate for them to share a bed. This woman has always a new hair cut/color, upgraded phones, and new accessories for her car (no payments). When I spoke to the SSi cs rep on the phone he asked if me and my husband were interested in being his representative and of course we do we want him to live with us and so does my stepson for the past 5 years now. My big question is , doesn’t she have to pay for all medical and dental needs for him with his SSI money and child support, especially when NOWHEREon their court orders (custody/visitation and child support) does it say they have to split the costs? Also if we live 100 miles away (one way) can we (1 of us) be made his payees and make appointments and pay for all those needs? If I show proof of her neglect of his health all these years?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ann,

      The facts you are giving me do not make sense to me. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments are paid at a maximum federal rate of $733 for individuals without other income. The $600 a month child support should reduce the SSI by $580 to $153. It is possible that your stepson lives in a state that pays some additional benefits for disabled children, but I have not heard of a state supplement being based on specific medical conditions.

      Your stepson’s mother should first use a portion of his benefits for food and housing if needed to take care of those basics and then medical and dental and vision care before other things such as school supplies. However, if she qualifies for low-income housing, she likely has no money to reimburse you for any unpaid expenses. You or your husband can apply to be payee; but if you do, you do need to give his mother money for his food and enough to keep a roof over his head.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jesse Nettles

    My girlfriend is the payee for her minor child that has downs synfrome. The judge granted her mom temporary custody of my g.fs child. The grandma thinks she is entitled to the childs benefits, but she only has temp custody?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jesse,

      If the custody is very temporary and defined in length two or three months, your girlfriend should give the child’s benefits to her mother each month and get a receipt for the benefits. If the custody is longer than that or undefined in length, she should notify Social Security and have her mother file to be payee for the child. Your girlfriend can then file to be payee again when the child comes back into her care. Note that if she keeps the money and does not use it for her child, she could be investigated and possibly prosecuted for misuse of funds.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cheryl

    I just found out my husband as we are legally married and no such thing as a legal separation where I live but he got back his ssdi benefits that due to something he did or didn’t do were stopped including dependent child benefits in 2011. He has a psyche disability and for years I was the payee but he convinced his dr to agree to let him control it. The result we lost our home as he went and gambled it all rather than pay our mortgage. I had several strokes and was disabled on ssdi in 2007 but I lost my sons benefits for a year till in 2012 after a year they agreed to put under mine for child benefits which was $250/month less but than I was receiving for my sons needs. Child support during that time of no child benefits refused to hear the case said closed he’s in prison but he wasn’t! I went there and got my state rep involved that’s how I got it back. My husband is getting funds reinstated from several years ago isn’t our son entitled to the year I got nothing for him and the difference till he was 18 and out of high school? He’s almost 21 but if he is this young man deserves it. He’s gotten nothing but grief sadly from his dad and he’s a good kid or rather young man wanting to start college. I don’t need it what I spent raising our son is done and over. This won’t be huge but for him it could mean reliable transportation. Thank you, Cheryl

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cheryl,

      I suggest that your son go to Social Security and to claim benefits for every month he father was eligible and every month not paid for him prior to when he turned eighteen. if this has already been done and he has been denied and the denial is less than sixty days ago, he can appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Cheryl

        This happened in 2011 I tried fighting and filed appeal and brought the papers to the office and they “disappeared” as they had to continue while I appealed and I argued the child did nothing wrong the father did and he’s not suppose to suffer. I was told he the child couldn’t get dependent benefits till the money he got was repaid and by withholding till 1/14 that money would be repaid. I said then he can collect under my benefits which a year later they agreed finally but nothing back dated and child support refused to help me as well. I went to social security a week or so ago and being legally married and also the past payee for both my husband at one time and for our son they divulged to me that my husbands account is still closed as well as our sons and nothing there saying anything was being reinstated. I just found out he was getting therapy after a foot surgery and was baker acted where he’s been for about 5 days. Course it’s not his fault it’s everyone violating his rights. Just tired of this never ending saga I guess.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Cheryl,

          If your husband account was closed or overpaid for the period you are trying to claim for your son, it may not be possible to get back benefits for you son.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • MG

    Hello,
    I previously wrote on this thread back in Jan 26. Thank you so much for your reply. I have now received a letter from the Social Security Office appointing me as a representative payee for both of my nieces. Their mother was the former representative, and we presented a complaint to OIG for misuse of funds back in November 2015. I made an application for new rep appointment with the local Soc Sec office at the end of January, and I just received the news.

    On the letter it states, “We have chosen you to be (niece’s name) representative payee. However, we cannot pay benefits at this time. We cannot pay you (niece’s name) regular monthly benefit at this time. Effective April 2016 (niece’s name) payments will no longer be sent to a financial institution.” It then states the general language of the right to appeal.

    My question is about the “at this time” language, it seems to me that they obviously can’t immediately continue disbursing the monthly benefit because they have to discontinue the original electronic bank deposit their mother was receiving. I’m thinking they will eventually resume payments once a back end process takes place first. What are your thoughts?

    Our family is really happy that their benefits of $3200 combined monthly will no longer be sent to the bank where it was getting withdrawn by their mother and sent to the Philippines for her personal business & family affairs.

    Thank you,
    MG

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear MG,

      Please see my response to your first post.

      Thank you,
      Kay

      • sherry

        i have a question should i be my sons appointed rep he is going to be 22 years old and leaving school in august to live with me and my minor son on ssi and daughter who recieves nothing he has autsim bipolar and is not able to make good decisons on his own as he has autism and bipolar and is on alot of medications one being an antipsychotic med. i am already is represantive payee due to he cant handle his money on his own. He needs alot of help managing money and personal issues so i thought it would be in the best interest if i be his appointed rep, any advice? and how do i go about doing this? i am his mother and legal guaardian as well.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sherry,

          I do not know what you mean by “appointed representative” in the context that you are already your son’s representative payee for Social Security and his legal guardian.

          Please see my response to your earlier post in which I asked for clarifying questions. In that you have now told me that you are your son’s representative payee for his SSI benefits, I can say that you do not have to take him to Social Security to report the change that he has moved back home. You can act in his behalf regarding his SSI benefits.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Talia

        I got a letter that said I was not able to be my sons payee and then I got a letter saying I am but benefits could not be paid at this time. Got the letters the same day. (My twins get dependent benefits from their dad) I called and the caseworker said I am the payee and everything is in order but the day his dependent benefits were due to be deposited they weren’t, only his twin sisters. I have been his payee for 2 years (since his father was approved for disability) and all of the sudden it changed!!?? Why?
        My son had his own disability benefits and they were discontinued because my husband got a better paying job and recently I submitted current income and a new interview. During the interview, I told them I wanted to change the direct deposit account if my son was reap proved. Could that be the reason? Because he removed that direct deposit information?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Talia,

          I don’t know why you were temporarily removed as your son’s payee, but it appears that has been corrected.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • MG

    Hello Mrs Derochie, I wrote on this thread back on January 26 of this year. Thank you for your previous reply. I was just notified in the mail yesterday that I have been chosen to be the new representative payee for both of my nieces. The letter states. “We have chosen you to be the (niece’s name) representative payee. However, we cannot pay benefits at this time. We cannot pay you (niece’s name) regular monthly benefit at this time. Effective April 2016, (niece’s name) payments will no longer be sent to a financial institution.” Our family is very happy that their mother (former rep payee) will no longer get the payments deposited to the bank accts where she was withdrawing monthly benefits in its entirety for her own benefit. The letter then states the general language about having 60 days to ask for an appeal if you disagree with the decision. I’m just happy that misuse will be stopped now that she doesn’t have any access to funds. Now, I’m wondering about the new rep assignment, I understand that the key word there may be “at this time,” that benefits cannot be paid right now. But I’m hoping they eventually will resume? I’m sure there’s a back end process where they may try to recover misused funds from her, and hopefully an indictment process as the total calculated funds the former rep payee received were in the amount of $130,000 (the past 4 years $1600 a month for one niece. and additional $1600 for the past 3 years for the younger niece) How should I read the language of being assigned as a new payee but yet they will not be issuing any funds to manage? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear MG,

      I suggest that you take the letter to your local Social Security office and ask for them to research what is going on with the children’s benefits, specifically why the benefits are suspended.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jen

    My daughters father is currently getting SSDI, and my daughter is getting a dependent benefit based off of that.
    Yesterday I had child support contact me and they said they can’t find any record of “father” being on SSDI. Of course if I reach out to SSDI they are not going to give me an income statement for “father”
    He is NOT guardian over himself and his mother is his legal guardian. Would this be why they can’t seem to find him in the system? I guess I am lost as to what they want me to be able to do to help them. Isn’t reporting income his responsibility?

    Thanks,
    J

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jen,

      You can give the child-support agency the father’s Social Security number and assure them that he is getting benefits because his daughter is receiving dependent benefits. Even if his mother receives his benefits as representative payee for him, the benefits are paid off his earnings record.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Have a stepdaughter who is in jail and might have to go to prison for 120 days. She has been in there 7 days.. She called someone and changed the address on her disability card to mine and wants me to cash her card and give her xx amt of money/week while in there. 1. Is this legal? 2. From what I can read it doesnt sound like she will have this money coming in for long, and is this card for this month legal to use, I read something that says the months preceding if partial month imprisonment may not be awarded. I do not want to do anything illegal. Help!

    • Nevermind answered my own question. It is illegal.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deb,

      If your stepdaughter has been convicted of a crime, she is not eligible beginning with the month that she is sentenced. So, you should not forward money to her for the current month until you know she is eligible. (Note that SSI is paid for the current month and Social Security is paid for the prior month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Thanks for answering.. She has not been convicted. Has been in there since March 23, and court date is April 8. Pretty good chance she will get convicted and spend at least 120 days not including time served is what she is told. So do I send it back to where it came from? She wants me to bring it to her and have them put it in her personal belongings?? I hate this stuff. Why can’t life be easy and people do the right thing and not end up in jail/prison to begin with!! Thanks for letting me vent

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Deb,

          If she is convicted in April, her April benefit, which is paid in May should be returned and all later payments as well until she is released and presents proof of the date of her conviction and sentencing and proof of release. Also she or someone else should also report to Social Security as soon as she is convicted so her benefits can be suspended. And you are welcome.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • She still has not been convicted. They rescheduled her till late May. She is still sitting in there??? So if not convicted yet sitting in jail does she lose the benefits still? Not trying to be dumb, sorry, just I have no idea how this all works, which is good and bad I guess.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Deb,

              My understanding of the law is that suspension of benefits does not occur until she has been convicted and sentenced.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Nicole

    My husband and I recently divorced. We have one minor child and I am the representative payee. How can we change this back to his fathers name? 2 hrs and 15 mins was way to long to wait on hold, ill try again tomorrow.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicole,

      The parent with the custody should be the payee. If your former husband has custody of the child, all he has to do is file to be payee. He can do this by going to his local Social Security office. The change will go smoothly if you submit a statement saying that you support the change. If the child lives with you, but you still want the father to be payee because of your disability, just explain the reasons.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • My Dad is 85 and has Dementia. His wife called me to come and get him and bring him to my Brother’s house to live. My brother went to court and got guardianship of him, but the Judge gave his wife all of his money. His Social Security check, and his retirement check goes to her. My brother has to provide everything for my Dad and then he sends a bill for that stuff that my Dad needs. She is supposed to pay the bill in 5 days. I thought the his SS should go to the home that is taking care of him. We do not know where to rest of the money goes. Is it legal for her to get his SS and my Dad live with my Brother and he have to provide all his needs and then have to wait for her to repay him if she feels like it?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Johnny,

      The Social Security Administration is not bound by a judge’s ruling in relationship to who should serve as representative payee. I recommend that your brother apply to be payee for your father as soon as possible.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ana

    My husband is pending approval for social security, due to being medically disabled from military service. His lawyer told him that his son would be eligible for benefits, including back pay. Can he just apply to be the registered payee? Mom is not responsible and we don’t want her involved in any of this. We’d like it to go straight to a savings account for college, without her hands being anywhere near it, or knowing about it. Is that possible? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ana,

      If your husband has custody of his son, he can apply to Social Security to be the child’s payee. If the mother has custody, then it is likely the benefits will be paid to her to pay for the child’s current needs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jon

    My 9 year old daughter lost her mother in December 2014. I found out her stepfather has been collecting benefits for her without our knowledge. I have changed the representative of payee to myself. What can I do to get the money back that is my daughter’s? He’s been receiving money for a year and he has no rights or custody of her nor does he want to give it to me so I can use the money for her needs.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jon,

      You can report misuse of funds to Social Security for the period that the child was in your care and the stepfather was receiving her benefits. If they can get the money back from the stepfather, they will reissue it to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • paulette

    Hi! My brother has an learning disability, he just move from Oklahoma to California. My question is does his payee need to live in the same state as he?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Paulette,

      Usually the payee needs to live close by in order to know what the beneficiary’s needs are and to meet them. The payee is supposed to pay for as many things directly to the provider, purchase household care items, etc. and then provide a small amount weekly cash to cover small incidentals. I suggest that, if you are currently the payee, you discuss the logistics of how you could effectively remain payee from such a distance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Joanne

    My daughter was just discharged from hospital into a residential facility and I would like to be her rep payee as I feel I have her best interest at heart. I am also kin foster caring her infant daughter and she wants me to be her rep payee. The problem is the agency is refusing to let her go to social security to name me rep payee and saying they want to do it. What are her rights?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joanne,

      Your daughter does not have to go to Social Security. You can go alone an apply to be her payee saying that you want control of the money so that you will have oversight for her care at the care facility. (Understand that most of the money will have to be paid to the facility for her care. If Medicaid is paying part of the bill, the amount that can be kept for personal items is defined by regulation, usually at $30.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ms. Jones

    Question? My boyfriends daughter is living with me. She is 16 her mom is still receiving her SSI benefits she spent all of the dedicated money that she had. She continues to call her daughter to ask if we went to SSI. She told her that she was cut off because the doctor said she wasnt sick anymore. We know that is a lie. Every time we go down there they say something about court paper. They are very lazy in the Detroit office on 7 mile. He has joint legal and physical custody, She put their daughter Jan and have not been back since then. My question is can I go and request to be her payee.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ms. Jones,

      Yes, you or the girl’s father can apply to be payee for the girl and should so do. If she is in school, you can submit school documents showing her new resident address to show she is living with you. You and the girl should report that the dedicated account has been spent and what for and how you know. Also report that the mother left her with you and has not provided support.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely

  • Brandy

    I suspected my children’s father had applied for SSDI for a while, not reporting that the kids live with me with almost no contact with him.

    When I gained custody of them 1.5 years ago I began calling social security to let them know. Whenever I called the operator would tell me (of course) “we can’t tell you anything but call back in 3 months”. So I have done that. This week the operator asked me how long I’d had them and then said she would add it to the file and got off the phone-she did not advise me to call back, leading me to believe he has finally been approved and is in the waiting phase.

    The little I can find online indicates that he can still be the representative payee because our custody papers indicate “joint”. However, in reviewing SSA guidelines for Rep Payee it seems he would not be deemed appropriate because the kids don’t even live there!
    1) when conducting an investigation will SSA actually interview the kids to PROVE they don’t live there? Or am I going to have to file documents of my own? Wil they conduct a THOROUGH investigation or just go by the stupid court papers that say “joint custody”?
    2) should I just go in person and fill out the representative payee request for my kids instead of waiting?
    3) there is no formal support order as of now so SSA has no idea to inform me, as I’m sure he lied. How are people in my position supposed to find out these things? There is a considerable amount of back pay for the children, as well as the fact that the benefits are larger than a support order on his limited income would be. He’s happy to pay me $200 a month in support ordered by the court and collect $500 from SSDI for the kids, with tens of thousands in back pay.
    4) should I just call the fraud line?

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brandy,

      Based on the change of information you got, it sounds as if your children’s father may have been approved for benefits. You have no facts of wrong doing to report fraud at this time. You can go to Social Security and apply for the children and apply to be their payee. Social Security does not go by court orders (except certain garnishment orders); they go by the parent with primary responsibility. If the children are school age, the school will have their resident address on file and you can request a statement from the school. If you have a rental agreement that lists number of adults and children in household, physicians records, etc., it would be good to take those. You will need your children’s birth certificates and social security numbers and their father’s number if you have it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Frankie

    Hi there

    I’ll make it quick. My mother and father are getting divorced. He moved out two years ago. My mom is currently receiving $1,000/month in disability. I have three younger sisters. Since I have been living with them and make more than half of the SSI benefits, I will be adding my sisters as defendants when filing my taxes. By claiming my sisters, will this negatively impact my mothers benefits?

    Kind regards

    • Frankie

      lol dependents

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Frankie,

      Your tax returns do not affect your mother’s or your sister’s Social Security Disability benefits; however, I suggest that you confer with a tax accountant or the IRS to be sure that you are correct in your being able to claim them as dependents.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jamie Tomasulo

    My question is: my 59 year old brother who is disabled was just approved for SSI with my 81 year old mother appointed as his representative payee. My mother has supported him his whole life on her own social security benefit. Can my mother charge him room and board (i.e.: housing, food and utilities) now that he has an income? Also……if she can, and he was given back pay for 4 months, can she also take back payment for room and board for those months also?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jamie,

      Your mother can charge her son room and board or have him pay his share of expenses. In fact if he pays his share of the rent or mortgage and property taxes (and property insurance if required by the mortgage holder), shelter utilities (not cable and phone), and food, his SSI will be higher than otherwise.

      It is likely that he will need the back pay to pay the share going forward because the increase for paying his share will begin until two months after he starts paying his share, so money may not be available for past months. Also, as representative payee, your mother needs to avoid even the appearance of taking advantage of his benefits for herself, so it might be better not to repay herself. (Note: if your brother has been disabled since prior to age twenty-two and has not been married, he could apply for disabled adult child benefits on his mother’s earnings record.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • elizabeth

    can a person who has been indicated for abuse be a payee rep

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elizabeth,

      It is possible that an indictment of that nature would be a factor in declining an application to be payee or removing a payee. I suggest that you discuss the matter with the Social Security office that serves the Social Security beneficiary.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Shawna

    Hello!
    My mother died in June 2015 and was the payee of my brother. My brother was hit by a car when he was a child and mentally never has developed hes disabled. I called SSI in July and asked for the payee to be changed to myself being that he lives with me now and I take care of him. I have yet too receive any of his money. Its been 7 months I call Social security all the time and nothing changes. Any ideas on what to do? Any ideas would be appreciated!

    Shawna

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shawna,

      I suggest that you contact your congressperson’s office to see whether they will make an inquiry for you. Explain the circumstances to them the same as you did to me.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Laurel

    Hello Kay,
    Can there be two RP? My husband and I are Legal Co-Gaurdians of our adult son. We want to both be able to be on his account so if one of us becomes ill or disabled our son will not have issue with meeting his needs. We have not applied yet for SSDI for our son, the bank I wanted to open account for him said they only do one other on a joint account. Any advice or do you know a bank that is best for handling disability?

    Thank you,
    Laurel

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laurel,

      Only one person can be representative payee. If the one who is payee becomes ill or dies, the other parent can apply to be payee at that time. The account needs to be titled “your son’s name by payee’s name, representative payee.”

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Gina

    Hi,
    My niece came to live with us. Her grandmother also lives with us. Her mother is still collecting her SS check as she has a drug addiction. She refuses to support my niece in any way yet continues to collect and spend the SS benefits my niece receives due to her father passing away. I have been supporting my niece out of my own pocket for over a year now because I do not have my nieces SS# and ofcourse her mother will not give it to me. How do I go about getting my niece’s SS check tranfered to her own account that I can use to support her? I also planned on claiming her on my taxes as I work everyday however I was informed by her mother that she gets someone else to claim my niece on their taxes and gives the mother the money. How do I go about making sure she doesn’t illegally do that. My nieces school records reflect she has resided with myself, my husband and her grandmother for over a year now.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gina,

      You do not say how old your niece is, but you can help her get her Social Security card replaced by taking her and her birth certificate to Social Security. You might also be able to get her father’s Social Security number from death records. If you can’t get either number, report the misuse anyway. Take the school records to prove she is with you. You can also report the tax fraud to the IRS. Both agencies may have some way of taking action if you give them the mother’s address and the name and address of the person illegally claiming the child on his or her tax return.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Brandi

    My payee was recently forced out of business and I found out this morning that a new payee was chosen for me. I am confused about this since I was going tomorrow to apply for a new payee. Is this a normal action for social security to take and can I appeal their decision?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brandi,

      You cannot appeal who is your payee; however, you can discuss with Social Security why you think someone else would make a better payee and have that person file a payee application for consideration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • MG

    Hello, my brother who is the father of my 5 & 3 year old nieces passed away 3ys ago. The mother was able to come from the Philippines along with my nieces 6 mos ago. Unfortunately, the mother is misusing their benefits (She currently gets approximately 3000 a month). She wires all of the money out of their accounts into her own account. She confirmed it herself that she sends over $2500 to the Philippines to invest in a luxury condo she is getting built. The rest I’m convinced she spends for personal pleasures. They lived with my mother up until 3 months ago, where this woman proved she’s only interested in money. All of their expenses clothing, food, shelter were paid by the rest of our family to help them out. Until we found out what she was doing. Three months ago I reported her to the OAG and the local SSN office. My five year old niece was diagnosed with Tuberculosis 4 months ago, and she refuses to take her to follow up visits. Both of my nieces have not received medical, vision, dental checkups. Every time we tell her it needs to be done, she says she has no money for that. Now, she met someone 2 months ago, and after two weeks of meeting moved in with him and my nieces. We ran a background check and found out he is a career criminal who has done extensive time in federal prison. He currently pays her $800 rent and food which is the reason she was so easy to move out. This woman is such an idiot, she has no common sense, no communication skills, & her only interest is money. She left behind in the Philippines a 11 yr old son and 9 year old daughter (half siblings to my nieces). She left them behind to fend for themselves and says they are okay because a neighbor is keeping an eye on them. I just cringe at her carelessness and lack of emotion for anything that truly matters. Anyway, I just filed an application two days ago requesting a change in representative payee, and asked to have me as a representative because I want my nieces to grow up healthy & have saved funds to be able to go to further their education in the future. I know she started receiving SSN letters already because she’s picked up maybe 2-3 letters since last month. I’m just wondering how long does it usually take for a new rep to be assigned.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear MG,

      It is unlikely that the benefits will be changed in February. If you are selected as payee, the earliest you could probably expect is March. Given that you have reported misuse, the benefits usually paid in February might be suspended and then paid to you once they are resumed. If you have not received any correspondence about your application to be payee by the end of February, follow-up to your local office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Liana

    I am the daughter payee. I have SSDI and I got her annual report form. $6533 from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015 that saved $27,995. The total is $34,528. That mean is that pay back tax $34,528 when she turns 18 years old. Where was $27,995 saved from?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Liana,

      I am not sure I fully understand the situation, but if the beneficiary has been getting benefits for a long time, the money could have been saved gradually over a number of years. Money is typically taxed when it comes in, not when a person turns a certain age. All that said, it is possible I didn’t understand your situation correctly and may not have given you a correct or meaningful answer, so I sugges that you as the payee about the savings.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Crissy

    I am my son payee if I file taxes will that affect his SSI payments

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Crissy,

      Please explain what you mean by filing taxes. Do you mean your own tax return? If so, how would it involve him?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Brenda M Nicholson

    I’ve been receiving SSI benefits since I was 20 yrs old. But that’s because I was living with my mother at the time.I’ve been living on my own ever since I was 28 yrs old which means I have been paying my own bills,rent,and utilities. I do not think it is fair that my mother is still my payee. I am 40 yrs old now.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brenda,

      You can apply to be your own payee and tell Social Security that your mother has just been handing the money over to you for you to pay your own expenses and that you have lived on your own for the last twelve years. You will probably be made your own payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cindy

    I just became a guardian to an 11year old family member who is now living with us. She receives social security from her deceased father and I applied to be her representative payee. I was given a form from the social security office stating that I have applied to be her representative. The man who conducted the interview at the SS office stated that he approved it. Now I’m trying to set up her bank account, however the bank told me I need an actual letter from SS stating I am her representative payee, not just the form saying I applied. Is this something they usually mail after the application and interview? Or do I need to go back and ask for that letter?

    A couple more questions…. can I use a portion of her SS to help us pay our mortgage, utilities and groceries? Maybe 1/5 of each since we now have 5 people in our home? She gets over $900 monthly and so I’d like to open a savings account for her future needs as well. Is there a limit to how much we can save for her?
    Thank you for your help!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cindy,

      You will get a letter appointing you as your family member’s payee and that will allow you to set up an account to which you can have future benefits sent directly. You can set up both a checking and savings account, if you wish. Your plan for her to pay her share of mortgage, shelter utilities and food is appropriate. The best way to track the amounts is to write yourself checks from her account and set up the account to have photocopies of the checks sent with the statement or print them off the online banking record. There is no limit to the amount you can save for her as long as her clothing and medical and dental needs are being met.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Cindy

        Thank you!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Cindy.

          • Cindy

            How long does it normally take to receive the letter from the SS office? It’s been about 2 weeks and I still haven’t gotten it.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Cindy,

              You should have the letter within a month of applying to be payee. If you do not, follow up with the office where you filed the application.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Brandi

    I have 2 questions. 1. Can someone who is receiving SSI benefits be someone else’s payee? 2. Can a person who needs a payee be their own payee if they are a felon?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brandi,

      A person receiving SSI can serve as another person’s payee. I do not know the answer to your second question, but I would say probably because they are not caring for someone else’s money. I suggest you check with the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • medan

        im needjng to know how i can be considered not capable of handling my own money because i am a felon?? my payee was a felon for the same thing around the same year and having a payee is not benificial or needed. how is this suppose to work? Do i have to stay treated like a brainless two year old forever for having SM?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Medan,

          I suggest that you discuss your capability to hand your funds in your own best interests with your physician. If he or she agrees you are capable, ask to have a form SSA-787 completed for you to take to Social Security. You can get the form online. If you are not your own payee, you should still not have a felon as your payee and you can request that someone else without a criminal record serve as your payee.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Vicki

    My boyfriend can’t read to well and have a learning disibilty and him and his 2 kids who are 16 & 17 lives with his mom. He receives ssi and he wants to live with me & my mom. He also wants to change his payee from his mom to me. Although, his kids don’t want to move with him they want to stay with his mom. On the other hand, he works and has learned how to handle money responsibly. Can he become his own payee now, even though he was deemed incompetent of handling his own money. Also, I receive alimony & I don’t want my ex-spouse trying to take me to court to stop my alimony, if he finds out that my boyfriend is living with me & I’m on a account with him as his payee. Even though, I know I’m helping him out and I’m not using his money for me. What would be in the best interest for my boyfriend.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Vicki,

      If you become your boyfriend’s payee, as you point out, the money is not yours; so I wouldn’t expect it to affect your alimony. However, I am not a legal expert on the matter, so you might want to investigate further. Your boyfriend can apply to be his own payee saying that he has been handling his work earnings and can handle the benefits also. He might ask his physician to provide a supporting statement on an SSA-787, which can be obtained online.

      If your boyfriend is receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and not SSDI (Social Security Disability),in order not to have a reduction in benefits, he needs to pay his share of rent or mortgage, shelter utilities (not phone or cable) and food if he shares food with you or you and your mother. Alternatively, if he will buy his food separately and will have his own room, hecould rent a room from your mother for fair market value.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • alexia Henderson

    Hello. Recently in October i became my 9 month old daughters payee. Her father ( whom im not married to) insist that he’s entitled to a percentage because he drives us to her doctor’s appointments (in my car). Keep in mind i still have to pay a car note cant work and take care of my daughters needs with only 488 dollars. Yet he insist on taking a percentage bc he feels like he is entitled.
    Is he ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alexia,

      If you are paying for the gas with the child’s benefits, I wouldn’t think reimbursement would be in order. However,I suggest that you discuss this with Social Security. That way, if Social Security says “no” then you can just quote them. As an aside, your child is receiving $488 because at the time she was approved she was receiving free shelter and/or food. If she is now paying rent or paying toward shelter costs and getting food stamps, she might be eligible for more.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sara

    My son’s father has a representative payee for his SSD. He was trying to get me to file for benefits for my son even though we have a child support order in place. I didn’t follow through because the payments would be less than with CS and cut off at 18. Now dad is trying to apply for my son. Is he allowed to do that if he has a representative over his disability account? It seems like they would be the one with the authority to do that if he’s been deemed incompetent to handle his own affairs better make decisions for my son.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sara,

      It is unlikely he will be made payee for his son; however, his own payee could be made the child’s payee. Your child can receive both Social Security Dependent benefits and child support although sometimes the disabled parent will go back to family court and ask for a reduction in child support in consideration of the Social Security being paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Will

    Hello. I am the Payee for my mothers SSI. I was wondering, will this affect me in any way when I go to file my taxes next year? Do I do anything differently when filing my taxes because I’m the payee? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Will,

      Being payee does not change your tax status because the money you are managing for your mother is not yours.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jen

    My 17year old son recently moved with my mom to finish this year of school. I receive ssdi and he receives family benefits from my check. I have been sending his money to my mom via cashiers check. Since she is taking care of him until schools out in June. Do I need to contact social security to let them know?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jen,

      Given that the situation is temporary and you are still principally responsible for your son, you will probably be retained as payee if he will be under eighteen when he graduates and will return to your residence when school lets out. Otherwise, your mom should probably be made payee. In any case, I suggest that you report that your son is not in your household and ask what Social Security recommends. Keep the money order receipts to prove transfer of the funds.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Richard Gagnon

    My mom is my rep payee and has been since 2010 but she works a very stressful and full time job and when I have to move and file things they want the rep payee there my mother now has no time for these appointments. I was wondering if I could be my own payee.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Richard,

      It sounds as if you are handling your own funds now. If that is the case, you might apply to be your own payee and present a letter from your mother stating that you have been paying your own bills and that she does not have time to go to Social Security appointments or complete reports. If there is any doubt that you would pay for your housing and food and other necessities before other expenditures, I suggest finding another trusted person to be your payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Gina

    My 25 year old son suffers from Schizophrenia and has appointed me his mother as Payee. He has been receiving checks for 3 months now. His disability payment is being used for his care. He pays rent of $300 and is provided food and shelter. I have for the last 2 years been in out of clinics because of his condition taking care of him and riding him around for appointments. During those 2 years all expenses were on me and my husband. My son at times will not always take his pills and will go into his Schizophrenia state at times where is confused and zoned out. He also likes to drink a little which sometimes causes problems. However as a Mom his Father and I monitor everything he does to make sure we keep him straight.

    He wants to appoint a new payee because he wants his freedom and a previous landlord said that he could be his new payee and will help to pay for his rent and give him money to spend out of his account. I live in a good area of the suburbs and the landlord wants to rent a place in the city which is in a very bad neighborhood for $400 to $500 a month for a room. This landlord kicked him out 2 years ago because at the time he was staying with a young lady who had a bi-polar condition and they both were constantly fighting.

    What can I do to make sure I stay as his Representative Payee. I am nervous that if my Son changes the Payee that he could cause injury to himself or others? I am also concerned that this landlord is only concerned about the money.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gina,

      The Social Security Administration appoints payees. It will consider the beneficiary’s recommendation on who should be payee, but the Administration will try to appoint the payee who is in the best interests of the beneficiary. You can go to Social Security and explain why you think it would be best for your to remain payee for your son. If you remain payee and your son moves out, it will be your responsibility to pay his rent and take care of his other needs using his benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tim Bass

        I just want to ask a question. My ex the mother of my three yr old son is the payee for my son .. I no for a fact that He just started getting his check n he got his back pay .. I no she just took his money n went to visit her bf n Maryland .. Can I fight to have my son check just have it put in a saving account for him so I no he will be able to at least have sum money to fall back on when he’s older

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Tim,

          I suggest that you talk with the Social Security administration and report the misuse of the back pay and apply to be your son’s payee. If the back pay is recovered from your son’s mother, it would be reissued to you if you are made payee. Note that the benefits are intended to support your child’s current needs so you would need to give money to his mother for his food and other needs and pay his dental and medical needs, and school supplies from the monthly benefits. (Be aware that if he is receiving Supplemental Security Income not Social Security dependent benefits, there are savings limits.)

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Sheala

    The SS office recently called my fiancee and asked him to have me designated as his payee. Does this mean his SSD is approved?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sheala,

      Yes, in all likelihood, his claim has been approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Stevie

        I been waiting for decision on my claim but today the local office called me out of the blue to tell me that they have chosen my sister to handle my funds if am approved I told them yes that was ok and they said they would call her . does it sound like a win or not yet ?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Stevie,

          Yes, your claim has probably been approved. A payee would not be chosen if you had not been approved.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Siren

    Hello just a quick question, can the appointed payee live in a different state, from the ss benefiary and still remain the payee? In this case The ss beneficiary moved to Georgia, where the rep. payee was appointed, but since then the ss beneficiary has moved to Minnesota. Can, or should I say, is it legal for the person who still lives in Georgia to continue to be the Representative Payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Siren,

      The situation you describe is not illegal if all the beneficiary’s benefits are being used for the beneficiary. That said, logistically, it is not really workable because, although the payee can and should pay the beneficiary’s rent and utilities directly to the landlord and utility companies, the payee wouldn’t be able to take the beneficiary shopping for clothing, toilet articles, gas (if a car is involved), etc. so would not have control over the use of funds.

      The beneficiary’s change of address must be reported and, at that time, Social Security will likely seek a payee who lives near the beneficiary.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Samantha

    I was wondering if my mother in law is my payee and I have appointment with the ssi Friday would my mother in law have to be my daughter payee or can I be her payee

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Samantha,

      Your mother-in-law will have to serve as your daughter’s payee because it has been determined that you need a payee yourself.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • brandi

    hi kay,

    my son gets his dad’s benefits from him passing a few years ago.i receive ssdi my husband is my payee. my mom was my son’s before we moved and now my husband will be his payee as well. we have already went and got him approved to be his payee but when will we be receiving his benefits; if it was last month that we finished it at ssa office?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brandi,

      If your husband does not receive your son’s benefits this month, he should follow up with the office in which he applied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Bisi

    My husband receives social security benefit, and he filed survivor retirement disability insurance for my daughter without my consent, and was collecting the money behind me. I later found out, and confronted him. He did not release the money to me. My daughter is 2 years old and lives with me here in the USA. My husband lives in Nigeria. Can i go to social security to report him, and will social security accept me as the representative payee for my daughter

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bisi,

      Yes, you should go to Social Security and file to be your daughter’s payee and report that your husband has been receiving the money and not using it for his daughter. Take your husband’s Social Security number, if you have it, and your daughter’s number and birth certificate.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mary

    My daughter resides with me. While in court trying to get child support from her father, he testified that he receives full disability. He doesn’t pay his child support obligation. Someone told me since he is on disability my daughter can receive child benefits. Is that true? Would that be the case even though she lives with me full time? How would benefits be paid out? What can the money be used for? I don’t mean to sound greedy but the court is doing nothing to enforce child support and some money would surely help with cost to raise her. Could some of the money go towards her daycare? School clothes, supplies, etc. I know he wouldn’t apply for her to receive benefits, especially if the money came to me for her. Am I allowed to file on her behalf? Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      If the father of your daughter is receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI), not Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, and his earnings were high enough to provide dependent benefits, you can receive the benefits for your daughter because she is in your care. The money can be used for anything that your daughter needs including childcare. You can find out whether benefits are payable by going to a Social Security office with your daughter’s Social Security number and birth certificate and her father’s Social Security number. Without his number, it may be difficult to file a claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sin

  • Vicki Factor

    My husband receives disability and our son (13) receives SS benefits from that. I am the payee for our son. My husband and I are parting ways in December and he is saying he will take away these benefits for son just because he can. I use the benefits for son’s school, clothing, lunches etc and maybe going to the movies or paying a utility bill. My husband pays nothing at all. I work full time and pay for everything. Can he do this?
    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Vicki,

      Typically the parent with custody will be made the payee. You need to report your separation from your husband and go on record that your son will continue to live with you and you want to continue to be his payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Marie

    Dear Kay,
    I have legal guardianship of my 20 year old son who has autism and lives with me. My son receives around $480 SSi and I am the representative payee. So far, i have always spent the whole amount in clothes for him, his medical bills, and food and home supplies for the household. He also receives $650 monthly in child support from his father that goes into a first party SNTF for him. If I want to start having my son contribute from his SSI toward “room and bosrd” in my house, say $400 monthly, do I have to notify SSA
    that I would be taking a specified amount for that purpose? Do I need to draft a rental agreement for SSA to approve prior?
    Thank you,
    Marie

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marie,

      I assume that you are planning to use $400 from the trust fund for your son to pay “room and board.” I also assume that you and he are sharing food and that you reported the trust fund and the trust fund has been excluded as a resource for SSI and the money going into it each month does not count as income for SSI. My response is based on those assumptions. I will also throw in a disclaimer that there are many kinds of trusts and the rules are complicated, so you should double check the information I am giving you with the Social Security Administration.

      If you are already using some of your son’s SSI to pay for his food, then then the amount he would be paying for room and board would be $400 plus the amount contributed for food. For an example, let’s say, your son pays you $600 for room and board and that is fair market price for room and board in your area. Two months after this began, his SSI would go up to $353 (the maximum $733 minus $380 of the money taken from the trust.) Social Security will not consider your son capable of signing the rental agreement if he is not capable of receiving his benefits directly. To prove payment, have the trust write you a statement about the amount being withdrawn and that is being paid to you for room and write yourself a check from your son’s SSI bank account for the food. That will serve as proof.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Anna

    Hello,
    I am on SSI and my mother is the payee. We used to live together but we no longer do. She does not speak to me and actually has a restraining order against me to prevent me from coming within 300feet of her due to an argument in February 2015. She does not allow me access to my SSI disability payments. I received my bank statement on the account and she purchased $1800.00 of carpet for her new house in September 2015.

    Is there anything I can do to change the payee? Are there payees that I can hire so I will be able to access the SSI disability payments to pay my bills? Any information will help,thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anna,

      You do not say how you are paying for food and shelter if your mother is not giving you access to your funds. But setting that aside for a moment, if your mother is using your benefits for herself, she is misusing the funds. I suggest that you report this and the fact of the restraining order to Social Security to get the benefits suspended until you can get a payee.

      In some areas, there are state or county or private non-profit organizations with social workers who will serve as payee without payment. There are also businesses, such as financial advisors or trust attorneys who will serve as a payee for a fee. I don’t know how affordable they are. I suggest you ask your local Social Security office if they know of any agency or business in your area that will provide the service.

      Your payee should pay your rent and utilities directly to the landlord and utility companies and pay anything else you need directly if possible. Any left over money should be given to you on a weekly basis for incidentals or entertainment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Godsgift

    Hello my daughter and went to her hearing yesterday for her ssi she is 13 years old she received benefits in the past for a speech and language impairment but recently had a new diagnose of a adhd.odd and ptsd through social security ce.doctors anyway I have been her representative payee and legal guardian since birth the problem is she is currently living with her father but he have no legal custody we have two children my daughter and our son who lives with me will I still be representative payee because he is a convicted felon

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Godsgift,

      It is quite possible that your daughter’s father will not be made payee for your daughter because he is a convicted felon. If you are made payee, you must make money available for your daughter’s food and school expense. It would also be reasonable to give her father some money to cover the increase in utility bills from having a second person in the household. You should buy her clothes, bus pass, toilet articles, haircuts etc. and pay for her medical co-pays directly. Keep records. Get a receipt book and get a receipt for any cash you give to your daughter or her father.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • SR

    If a disabled person has been assigned a representative payee, wouldn’t that disabled person be notified that a representative payee has been assigned to him or her? Would there be regular updates to the disabled person?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear SR,

      When a payee is assigned, the person is notified. Double check this with Social Security, but I think that after that all the notice go to the payee because the person has a payee because he or she has been determined incapable of handling his or her business affairs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • My friend asked me to be her payee is that considers income to me? And if I become her payee will it affect my food stamps or housing?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      Being another person’s payee will not affect your income, food stamps or housing as long as you do not mingle her money with yours.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Lashunda

      I too was asked to be a family members representative payee. But I live in HUD housing. Would that mess me up and any way?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Lashunda,

        When you are a payee for someone receiving benefits, the money is not yours and you cannot use it for yourself; so being a payee should not affect your housing assistance.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Fernan Ramos

    My mother received her first check last month of SSI because she has a brain cancer. Shen can not move to the Social Security Office, she can’t write or sign and can’t go to the bank. She was living with a friend in Miami, but we, her sons are in Dominican Republic. How we can change the treasury checks? or is possible that we call the Social Security for the put her friend that is an USA citizen as payee? How we can do because she’s needing that money.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Fernan,

      The friend she is living with can apply to be your mother’s payee. It could be helpful for you to write a letter for the friend to take to Social Security saying that you approve of the friend’s being payee. Also, have her doctor write up a statement that she is not able to take care of her financial business because of her illness. After she is made payee, the friend will need to set up a bank account with the title “your mother’s name by the friend’s name, representative payee” or set up a DirectExpress debit card to receive the benefits. Social Security can explain the options. Note that the uncashed checks already issued may need to be reissued for the bank to accept them.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Vanessa

    I had a child before I turned 18 he collects ssi for being a preemie. So my dad is his payee. I am now 20 & would like to be his payee.

    He is eligible for some back pay . Which i believe should go to a college fund for my child but my dads girlfriend is trying to split half with my dad . Is it possible for me to apply for the back pay once I become his payee or can my dad & his girlfriend take his money?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Vanessa,

      You can apply to be your child’s payee by going to your local Social Security office. Explain that you were not made payee initially because you were a minor when the child was bron. Also, report the potential misuse of your child’s back pay. Any unused back pay should be transferred to you when you become payee.

      Do note, however, that your child is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which has many rules regarding income and assets. You should familiarize yourself with these rules. You can start to do so by reading the articles under the SSI tab on navigation bar of this website. You can also get pamphlets about the rules and your reporting responsibilities. Additionally, ask Social Security to explain to you whether your child’s back pay was paid to a dedicated account with special rules for its use or not. If not, nine months after it was paid, it counts toward your child’s $2,000 resource (asset) limit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • deansall

    My wife can not read or write, she has a learning disability. I have been her rep payee for 15 years. Since then she has learned how to handle money and responsibility. But still can’t read or write. Can she get her SSA check under her own name now or will she always need a rep payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deansall,

      Your wife might be able to receive her benefits directly. I suggest that you and she go to a Social Security office for her to file to be her own payee and for you to make a statement of why you think she can handle the funds. You might also have her physician make a statement of capability on form SSA-787, which you can get online.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • marie

    Hi my daughter is 19 Y/O and is receiving SSI $733 monthly. Her diagnosed is intellectually disabled. We currently reside in the bronx, live together and I am her payee. However I’m moving, to a new apartment in the bronx and my daughter has decided that she does not want to move with me her payee ( mother). she wants to live with her grandmother who lives closer to her school. Her grandmother also gets SSI and has section 8. I know this has to be reported to section 8. But my question is the following:

    will either. Parties SSI be affected? can I continue to be my daughter payee ? And will she have to contribute to the expenses?

    Because once reported to section 8 grandmother rent portion will increase and my daughter will be responsible for the difference.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marie,

      Your daughter’s and her grandmother’s SSI benefits will not be affected by their living together as long as each pays half of the rent and utilities (not phone or cable) and buys her own food or pays half of the food if they share food. If you continue to be your daughter’s payee, you are responsible for using your daughter’s benefits to pay her shelter and food costs and her other needs. If she doesn’t need all the funds in a month, they should be saved for future needs.

      You need to report your daughter’s change of address, whether she stays with her grandmother or moves with you. At that time, you can request continuing to be her payee. Be prepared to say how often you will see her to be able to monitor her needs if she stays with grandmother.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Rosemona Anderson

        What about do it mess with her section 8 by evening a payee?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Rosemona,

          Being a payee for someone else should not affect Section 8 eligibility because the money she is receiving belongs to another person. She is handling it only in a fiduciary capacity.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Jason

    Hello. Great information thanks in advance. I just gotcustody of my autistic son. non ccustodial parent is payee yet in the 3 months I’ve had him hasn’t sent any of his money nor use it on him. I asked her when I found out the other day she said she’s used it to pay rent/bill…but she’s constantly partying/going drinking/shopping. So is this even legal? Can she use the $700 to pay the whole rent/bills…her rent was approximately $500, plus cable and utilities approximately $200 total. But if he lives elsewhere is that ok? I would like to do things for him like tutoring, or get him involved but she doesn’t want to help with anything and tells me she plans on going to school so struggling…. But she hasn’t enrolled so that’s a lie

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jason,

      If your son is receiving Social Security benefits, his moving in with you will not affect his benefit amount. If he is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, his SSI payment amount has to be redetermined to consider your income and assets, not his mother’s. Accordingly, you must report his move.

      If your son continues to be eligible for benefits, his benefits should be paid to you. You need to go to the Social Security Administration with any paperwork you have that shows you have custody of your son and any proof you have of when he moved in with you. Ask to file an application to be his payee. Also report that the former payee has not spent any of his benefits for his shelter, food, or other needs since he has moved in with you. Once you are made his payee, if you son stays with his mother as part of visitation rights, you need to give er money for his food for those days. Be sure to get a receipt from her for any money you give her.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jason

        Thanks for info. How about when my son did live with her, was she allowed to use his money to pay her whole rent and whole electric bill?? Isn’t there a limit on the amount used for rent? Like 50% or something.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jason,

          While not an ideal use of funds, if the child lives with the parent payee and it takes the child’s full benefit to keep a roof over the family’s heads and the utilities turned on, typically that is regarded as an appropriate use of the funds.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Jason

        Also if I go apply to be payee would she be required to pay back the money and I be paid for retroactive? Also what kind of account am I to get for my son to keep his funds separate? Does a savings work?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jason,

          Social Security is likely to try to get the money back that was paid to your son’s mother for the months he was not with her. If they get the money back, it will be reissued to you. The account, savings or checking, should be set up with the title “your son’s name by your name, representative payee.” You may not be able to set up the account until you get the letter showing that you have been made payee.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Hi my name is Patricia and I have my own claim for social security ….the question is I got into trouble had 2 felonies due to neglect on my daughter .wen I went to court the last one they have dropped it down to a misdemeanor wen I took the plea agreement …I’ve got my daughter back in my custody and living with me since June 16 th she came to stay for good……..the question is can I get my daughter’s check she’s drawing off of my work record…but can I get my daughter’s check back in my name…….since she’s living with me,dropped to a misdemeanor,custody back and living with me…….please I need help with this problem…..thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patricia,

      You may be able to become representative payee again; however, it is not guaranteed because you have a history of neglecting your daughter even if at a misdemeanor level.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • JW Casey

    Since my brother suffered a massive heart attack, has a pacemaker, has motor reflex problems (extreme hand tremors, etc) and has had emotional/cognitive problems from an early age, he went on SS disability about five years ago. Our elderly mom (now 91) has been his representative payee since then.
    She has recently been diagnosed with early stage dementia and has asked me, her younger son, to be the representative payee. All OK so far. The problem: I live in Japan. ALthough I visit home 3-4 times a year, am in almost daily Skype contact, can do online banking for both mom and brother (paying bills, etc) the SSA has told us that, due to my overseas residence, they will not allow me to replace my mom as representative payee. Seems completely absurd. Any thoughts?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear JW,

      The issue here is knowing your mother and brother’s daily needs. If they both need a payee, they may not be able to express those needs to you either now or at a point in the future or be able to do their own shopping, etc. I suggest that your family look for someone living in the same city– or at least the same state with the ability to visit a couple times a month–who can be trusted. If no other family or close friend is available, you might consider having an attorney or other professional take on the responsibilities of representative payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • JW Casey

        Thank you for your reply. Any idea at all of the costs involved in asking an attorney to do this job?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear JW,

          I do not know what the cost would be. Attorneys, certified financial advisors, and some banks provide this service; but I don’t know the cost.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Milly

    Hello, I am currently the payee for my 18 month old daughter. She has disabilities due to prematurity. Her dad and I decided to make things work and get married. I still can not work as she is unable to go to any public or private child care due to her medical issues. The SSI money goes solely to her expenses as she has many. The only change is marriage. Her dad makes pretty decent money considering he works a lot. I still have to cover my own costs plus her money is used for her expenses. Is us getting married going to affect her receiving her benefits? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Milly,

      If your daughter’s father is living in the household, herfinancial eligibility will depend in part on her father’s income beginning with the month after he moved in with her, whether you are married to him or not. You need to report the change to the Social Security Administration right away.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sara

    Hi I am currently payee for my minor child’s ssi. Recently my husband and I applied for a home loan under just my husband’s name. We were told that in order to have the ssi counted as income to get the home loan my husband would need to be shown as payee. I don’t mind changing this but I want to know if in a couple of months after our home loan goes through, can i change it back to me since It’s easier for me to handle the appointments and stuff. We all live together and we’re an intact family unit. Also is it alright to count his ssi as income? I have always used his money to provide for him, be it paying for a roof over his head to making sure he has nice clothes, food to eat, etc. We are trying to buy a house to provide a better home for him and his siblings and I know ssa has strict rules for how money is spent. Thanks so much!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sara,

      You should be able to change the payee and change in back for convenience. When your husband applies, support the application with a written statement from you that you want him to be payee for a few months. When you apply to switch it back, have him write a statement saying that he wants you to become payee again for convenience. Listing the child’s income as part of the family’s income on a loan does not mean you are going to change how you actually use the money. If you continue to use the money for your child’s benefit, you should not have a problem with Social Security law.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mary

    Can I be my fiancé’s payee if I am on disability and receive ss myself? I did not need a payee myself. Will being her payee affect my disability case?

    Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      You can serve as someone else’s payee even if you receive benefits yourself. Being her payee will not affect your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Angela

    I have custody of my daughter. My mother is her payee. I moved to a different town with my daughter. I was wondering if I could become her payee and if the payee had to live in the same town she lives in.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Angela,

      If your mother lives close enough to see visit and take care your daughter’s need, she could continue as payee. That said, you can try to become your daughter’s payee. If you apply to be payee, be prepared to address the reasons why you weren’t made payee initially.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mary

    My son was approved to get ssi but I got a letter stating I cannot be payee, and I am his mother. I do not have a criminal background, and I have never misappropriated any funds at all. I wonder why I cannot be payee? It’s a holiday so when I called SSA said the office closed early. Any possible reason why they said that?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      None other than what the message said, they closed early for Independence Day, though usually an office will be closed all day for a holiday.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • bob

        never mind,i see you meant you wouldnt know,and whatever the message they got said ;which wasnt much,would be all anyone could go by at that point

  • Catherine

    My son has recently been court appointed as Primary Custodial Parent and his son lives with him. My son’s ex-wife receives SDI so the minor child gets SS. She was representative payee. My son went to SS office and filed the necessary paperwork to have representative payee changed to him since he is primary. SS agreed and changed it to my son. Today he received a letter from SS saying that they have decided to make somebody else payee. As primary custodial parent with the child living with him 24/7 shouldn’t he be the representative payee by law?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Catherine,

      Ordinarily, the parent with custody will be made payee. An exception would be if the parent has been convicted of a felony or the person filing to be payee has made a convincing case that your son would misuse the money. Given that the current payee will have to give some of the money to you son for your grandson’s food and other needs, your son should be able to find out who the payee is.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mindy berger

    Can I see or recommend that my sister who I live with and my daughter stays here from monday to friday from 2 to 9 everyday be her payee because of him being a career criminal nd convicted drug king pin???plz answer as soon as u can

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mindy,

      Yes, you can. Please see my response of a few minutes ago.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mindy berger

    I recently was taken off for being my daughter who is on ssi for payee since her dad has primary custody although we have partial visitation. Her dad is being considered payee he has three drug convictions nd recently did 8 yes in jail got out for 2 yes went back in on drug of fence for another 32 months been out for a year can he be our daughters payee

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mindy,

      A convicted felon cannot usually be made representative payee. Let Social Security know about the felonies and consider who can be payee to be sure that your daughter’s needs are met.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Brian

    My son has autism and is turning 18 soon. My ex-wife and I recently filed for co-guardianship. We both want to be representative payee but I was told that only one can. Unfortunately we do not agree and she is not good with managing money. We have 60/40 (hers/mine) schedule and his address for school purposes is mine. She lives in another town. How do we resolve this if we can’t agree? How does SS determine who is best?
    Thanks
    Brian

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brian,

      If your son is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and not Social Security dependent benefits, his benefit amount is based in part on his living arrangements. Living arrangements are where he lives and, once he is eighteen, whether or not he is paying his share of shelter and food costs. If he doesn’t pay his share, he will receive reduced SSI benefits. To avoid reduction, he likely will also need to pay his share of food when he is temporarily absent from home while at the other parent’s home.

      If he is receiving SSI, you need to give all the information to Social Security and have them determine his primary residence. It is likely that the payee will be the parent living at the primary residence. That said, you can apply to be payee and explain why you don’t want your ex-wife to handle the money. Regardless of who gets the payment, the person who is payee needs to pay for shelter at the primary residence and see that the rest of the money follows the disabled person to cover food and other expenses wherever he is.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Brian

        Thanks for responding Kay.
        I’m not sure if he has any ‘income’ to pay for shelter and food. I pay child support so is that considered income? If not, when he turns 18, can we use SSI to do that? Or does he need some other income to qualify for full SSI when living with one of us?
        I appreciate your time.

        Brian

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Brian,

          You can use your son’s child support and SSI to pay his share of shelter and food expenses.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Brian

            Dear Kay,

            I pay $1000/mo in child support. When he turns 18, is this considered unearned income? Would that exclude him from receiving SSI?

            Thanks
            Brian

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Brian,

              If you are talking about SSI eligibility for your disabled child, the $1,000 child support you pay for for him will still count as unearned income if it continues after he turns eighteen.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Kathy

    Is it legal to have a payee for an ex girlfriend to whom you do not live with anymore and is homeless because she didn’t pay her bills and lost her home

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      If someone has a payee who has no means of support, there could be a risk of the person using some of the beneficiary’s money for self-support. If you question the wisdom of a payee selection, I suggest that you discuss the matter with the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Demise Manginelli

    S.S.A. SAYS THAT I NEED A PAYEE CUZ, IM SCHIZOPHRENIC,!
    Now, if i can prove that i can be my own payee, Then, will i lose my benefits,??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Demise,

      Although proving competency to handle money could trigger a medical review to see whether you were also mentally capable of working, it does not always happen. If your physician believes that even with your illness you can handle your funds and consistently pay for your shelter and food but that nonetheless you are not able to hold down a job, he or she could state this on an SSA 787 and you could submit it with your application to be your own payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tina

    I have a daughter who just recently moved in with her boyfriend in another state. She is pregnant I want to know if she has made him her payee. Up until now she has handled her own money. He isolates her and takes her phone pretending to be her talking to me. She is not able to have a private conversation with anyone. She has always driven her own vehicle and now isn’t allowed to drive it. He does. She is always telling me they don’t have enough food. And I have helped them on several occasions only to find out he is having 5 or 6 people over for dinner eating all their food and partying every weekend. I suspect he is taking her money and using and mentally abusing her for his and his friends benefit. He is also on disability and seems to be all about the money and she is very timid like she is afraid. Is it possible that I could find out if he has been appointed? And if so how can I reverse this for her protection? I’ve been trying to get her to come home but I think she really is so in experienced and unaware that she doesn’t realize it. Also there have been several instances where I have had to intervene to get her in to a doctor. This young mans parents suspect the same thing. He did the same to a male friend that lived with him for 5 yes. Please help!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tina,

      You can go to the Social Security Administration and explain the situation and apply to be payee for your daughter whether or not her boyfriend is her payee. It could be helpful to take a statement from the young man’s parents that he has a history of intimidating. The impediment to successfully becoming payee will be if your daughter is still getting her benefits directly. To have a payee appointed, a doctor would need to say that she is not capable of managing her own funds due to a cognitive impairment or mental illness.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Joy

    Is it illegal for a family member to forced a mentally ill person to change their payee after they have selected one outside of the family?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joy,

      A family member could go to the Social Security Administration and apply to be payee, asserting that the chosen payee is not paying for the disabled person’s housing, utilities, food, medical and dental needs, personal care items and other basic needs. You cannot appeal who is made payee; however, if the current payee is taking care of your needs and has proof of the use of your funds, you and the payee can go to Social Security and object to the payee change on the grounds that your needs are being met and the funds are being correctly used and you prefer the curren payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • My brother has an addiction problem and was neglected by his payee He now lives with me his sister. He left my brother to be taken care of by his x-girlfriend while he collected his social security for a year in half and now his brother-in law has applied on Dec 17 to be his payee and we have not received any funds yet and my bro tells me he got another payee from an agency share and care to speed the process so I called them up to see if it was true she said yes. and that he has the right to appoint any one for his payee the thing is he was told that if he gets a new payee he can opt from paying any funds due to for his rent . what do you suggest to do now ???.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Maria,

      Whoever is/was payee for your brother while your brother has been living with you is supposed to pay your for his room and board. Paying for housing and food is the first proper use of the benefits before paying for other expenses. I suggest that you communicate with the new payee about a reasonable amount of rent for your brother to pay and if you are providing food, an appropriate amount for food.

      Note that if your brother is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and his benefits are not used to pay for his housing and food, his SSI benefits will be reduced by one-third. This is not the case if he is receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI); however, for either benefit, the payee has the responsibility to see that housing and food are paid for.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sher

    I have been my daughters rep pay before age 18 due to her dad’s disability.
    Then she turned 18. And payments went to her. Then I applied for disability for her. I also became guardian. I took guardian certification to SS office.

    I am waiting to be appointed rep payee. I went down to office to get SS card and had them look up rep payee information as daughter got notice that I would be rep pay and letter stated she had 10 days to dispute it. It has now almost been 30 days. I found out that my name was dropped off that letter. Hers dated 1/12 then on 1/13 the person from SS office deleted my name. Now I am waiting on whether it will be me. Have left message and heard nothing. When should I hear something? I am concerned about this… When call on phone they say it is pending. I am her Guardian. Thanks for your response.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sher,

      Pretty much all you can do is wait for a decision. If you are not made payee, you will not be told who is made payee; but you should be notified if your application is turned down. You cannot appeal who is made payee, but if you think a mistake is being made you can always argue the point. In the meantime, all you can do is wait.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cassy

    My sister was recieving ssi for herself and 2 kids. Do to poor choices and mental illness I have become the legal guardian of her kids. I went to social security to apply to be their payee and have granted. My question is that now my sister is saying I am her payee and wants money. I did ask to her hers nor did I agree to it. How would I know if I was appointed ber payee for some reason?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cassy,

      If your receive her money, you will know that you have been made her payee. You could also go to Social Security with her Social Security number and say you wantt to make sure that you were not made your sister’s payee by mistake.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sherice

    I am repreesntive payee for my 20 yr old son. His first retro payment was received in the mail on Monday. Right now we are waiting on his direct express card in the mail. In the meanwhile we are receiving paper checks. Can I deposit those checks into my personal checking account (that is mine alone) & then withdrawl the funds after the check clears? Also are SSI funds taxable?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sherice,

      As representative payee, you cannot deposit your son’s benefits to your account. You can use the checks to open a bank account for your son. The title on the account should be “your son’s name by your name, representative payee.” The account will belong to your son, but you will be the only one with access. You could have future benefits paid to the account instead of using the express card.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lisa

    My sister receives ss disability and is spending it on drugs. She has already lost one home and if this continues she will not have the apartment she is living in at this time. My question is can someone be appointed representative over her money ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      You can apply to be payee for your sister explaining the reason she needs a payee. You should know that benefits are not payable for drug addiction. Is she still disabled for other medical or psychiatric reasons, separate from drug use? If so, you would want to indicate that she is still disabled by whatever that condition is.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • linn

    Hi there, I have a question, my son is turning 18 soon and he has been receiving ssi since birth, he is severely mentally and physically disabled. He has the motor and physical skills of a 5 month old, I have been his caretaker since birth and his payee for his ssi as well. We have looked at trying to file guardian advocacy but the attorneys charge and arm and leg and its just not possible. His disability hasn’t gotten any better and its permanent, being that he’ll be turning 18 soon and a review is coming for his ssi, do u think his benefits will discontinue cause I did not file guardianship? Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Linn,

      Your son does not need to be under a guardianship for him to receive disability benefits as an adult. You can continue to be his representative payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cassandra

    i need help my mom can no longer be my payee and she recently whent to fill out paper work with her proof of medical problems she has breast cancer and she filed to no longer be my payee the next day i ehent down to my ssi office they justgave me a number for job center wich i called they said to call human services i did they couldnt help me and ssi office isnt willing to help i know who i want my payee to be she is a state rep payee threw human services she is willing to be my payee so we called her she said all she gets is a letter stating of a new client but ssi is telling me she has to fill out application to be my payee. then we found a number and called them they said they will send a letter to ssi office with the payees name orginization and that it can take up to a month to hear from any one . im extremely stressing over this to where i cant eat or sleep i have ptad wich makes it worse what do i really do to request her as my payee plz help i feel like im in a rapid sinking ship with no way out and i dont see a doctor nor have a case worker plz help im scared that when next month rools around that they will with hold my benefits wich i cant have happen

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cassandra,

      The quickest way to resolve this is to have the state rep payee through Human Services go the local Social Security office with you and complete the representative payee application there. It would work best if you meet her there and are present for the interview. If she cannot go in because of her work schedule, then perhaps you can go to Social Security and get the rep payee application for her to complete. While you are there, you could find out whether your December check only can be paid to either your mother or you, so it is not late.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • dprimeaux

    Will Social Security appoint a person from the state as a representative payee if I can no longer do it for my sibling?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear D.

      Someone or some organization has to apply to be payee for the person. If you can no longer serve, the first choice would be another responsible adult. If there is no good candidate and the person is receiving social services from the county or state, that organization might provide payee services. If the person is living in a care facility, the facility might apply.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • anonymous

    My father is due to receive his social security benefits in the next few months. He has two children that will also receive benefits. One is 18, but still in high school, the other is 16. They spend equal time with both their mother & our dad, but does live with their mother primarily. The parents were not ever married. His concern is the fact that mom does not work, has a live in boyfriend who also does not work & the children’s ssi checks may be misused. Is there an automatic presumption that mom wou bd the payee on the children’s benefit? Is it possible that my father could be selected as payee? Is there always a review process where concerns can be adressed or only in special circumstances?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anonymous,

      Your father should go to Social Security and apply to be payee for younger child and explain that the children spend about equal amount of time with both parents and that he is concerned about misuse of the funds (which are Social Security dependents benefits, not SSI) and why. He can then forward part of the money to the mother for food for the portion of the month that the child is with his or her mother and pay for other needs such as clothing and school needs directly. It is possible that the eighteen-year-old child will be paid directly.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sue Hoadley

    Hello. My adult daughter is currently her own payee for SSi benefits. As far as I know all she did was call our local SS office and asked to be her own payee and they let her. Since she became her own payee she has debts over $2000.00. She lives with her boyfriend who has been using her money for drugs and alcohl and she gives him money for anything he asks for. He has been doing this for 3 years now. They have lived together in two different apartments and they both have a judgemnet against them for $700 they owe one apartment owner. She also owes another apartment $1150 that has gone to a credit collection agency. She also owes the electric company $184. I had her pay the collection agency $50, but now she won’t continue paying because her boyfriend said they need her money to live. Out of three years together he has worked 3 months. He is not mentally challenged and has been taking advantage of her for years. Things are worse now since they have a two year old child and the money is gone after two weeks and they don’t have money for diapers. They hop from home to home because she has bad credit and she can’t get an apartment. Her doctor is willing to write a letter to social security stating that she is not competent to be her own payee. I should also mention that She has not been letting social security know where she is living each time she moves and I was told by a worker that she is in danger of losing her SSI because they can’t get papers to her. Do you think I have a good chance of becoming her payee? I was her payee years ago before she became involved with drug addict/alcoholic boyfriends. She became her own payee when one boyfriend complained that she couldn’t use her money unless I said so. He used it then for his own needs and to party.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sue,

      With the letter from the doctor and the detailed information you provided to me, I think you have a good chance to become payee for your daughter. If you have any proof of the non-payment of rent, take it with you as well.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Melanee

    Do you need to be employed/have a job to be a relative or a person payee representative?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melanee,

      You do not have to be a relative or be employed to serve as representative payee, but you do need some source of support because you cannot use the Social Security beneficiary’s or Supplemental Security Income recipient’s benefits to support yourself.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jessica

        My 40 year old son who is schizophrenic is living with me. He has just been approved for SSI but at a reduced rate. Evidently because I am his payee, he cannot give me rent or money for food, so he does not receive the full amount. My question is, can he request that his brother, who lives close by, be made his payee? Then perhaps I can be paid room and board. I myself am living below the poverty line.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jessica,

          One solution would be to have your son’s brother serve as payee; however, you, as payee, can and are supposed to pay for your son’s food and housing using his benefits. Therefore, you can use your son’s money to pay yourself room and board. You can charge a flat rate for room and board as you would any roomer or have him pay his share of shelter (rent or mortgage, power, heat, water/sewer and garbage) and his share of food. (With two people in the household, his share would be one-half.) If you do this, I suggest that you write yourself a check off your son’s account so that it is clearly documented the amount being paid and eiter print copies of the checks off the internet or pay the banks’ likely small fee to have check copies included in the mailed statement. If your son pays either his share or market rate for room and board, his benefit will go up to the maximum. (Note if he prepares his food separately from yours, he could be eligible for food stamps and pay for his food that way and only pay you for room.)

          If there’s a difference between his share (or the fair market value of the room and board or just room) and how much he pays, his benefit may go up some but not the maximum. The increase will occur two months after he starts to pay his share or pay rent.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Joe

    I am the payee for my fiance (not yet married) and we live together. She pays her part part of the mortgage and bills. Does my income affect the amount of her payment?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joe,

      Your income does not affect your finance’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment. When you marry your income will be considered in determining her eligibility.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jenae

    If I am getting SSDI & SSI do I have a $2000 resource maximum?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jenae,

      Yes, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) asset limit is $2,000 for individuals. Some assets are not counted such as one vehicle, income-producing property, a home you own and life in, some life insurance policies, and other items.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Todd

    My mom was appointed representative payee when I was awarded my disability benefits. She passed away from cancer 3 months ago. Well today I went to the Social Security Administration office. And they stated that they will stop payment on me receiving my monthly check because I don’t have a payee and will not pay out until one is appointed. Can they legally do that? And she stated that I would have to bring someone in to be appointed payee. And basically left it at that and wouldn’t offer anymore insight on the matter! Well I was trying to tell her I didn’t have any body that could be payee on my behalf. And she was really rude and stated she wasn’t going to argue about it. And I wasn’t being argumentative about it and told her that I’m just trying to tell her my problem. I was being nice about the issue . Anyways I would appreciate any information and advice you can give me on this. Thank You! (Todd)

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Todd,

      Regarding legality, yes, it is legal to suspend payment pending selection of a new payee. I suggest discussing the situation with your doctor(your psychiatrist if you have one) and the two of you consider whether you are capable (have the physical and mental ability and the good judgement) to handle your money, paying for shelter, food, and other necessities first. If so, you can get a letter from your doctor and apply to be your own payee. Another alternative is to contact your state or county social services office to see whether they have a payee service or can tell you about an organization that might serve as your payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Tim Bsss

        If my step daughter n my son r disabled and my step daughter has been receiving disability check n got a one time back payment and I not her mom had spent that back payment n also uses her daughters check to pay not daughters bills n nearly get daughter anythang out of her check when I no the money surpose to go on daughters needs n she has taken vacations on stepdaughter check can I get a change in payee for my son who was found disabled n awaiting a check with back pay just So she can’t do him that way n what to do bout her spending step daughters money when both kids are three n four yrs old can u tell me what to do please …thank u …careing father

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Tim,

          You can apply to be payee for your son and stepdaughter and explain the misuse of funds to Social Security. You do not say where the children live. If they live with their mother and not with you, you will have to give their mother some of the money for the children’s food and shelter. You can use the rest to buy clothing or whatever else the children need or save it for future needs.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Amber Evans

    My fiance, & also the father of the child im carrying, recieves SSI & recieved a letter saying that a woman that lives in his mothers him is now his representative payee. He wants to manage his own money, bc the woman & his mother are living off of his check, & he has no way to provide for me or his child. Is this legit means to appeal & if he isnt determined to manage his own money, could I as his fiance be chosen over a woman that has no relation & is abusing his money??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amber,

      Your fiance can appeal and request to be his own payee. He can also report that his payee is using his money for herself. A supporting letter from his physician would be helpful to establishing that he is capable of managing his funds. You can also file to be his payee; however, you cannot use his money to support yourself or your child when it is born. If he is living with you, you can use part of his money to pay his share of rent and utilities (excluding phone) and food if you eat together, which would be one half if two are in the household and one-third once the child is born. The rest of the funds must be used for his other needs–medical, dental, clothing, transportation, personal care, etc.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Melissa

    I’m the representative payee on my step daughter’s social security. Which she receives through my social security family benefits. I received a letter stating social security has appointed a new payee. How can I find out who that is, she is a minor, lives in my house hold and her father and I care for her. I called social security and they say they can’t tell me anything because I’m not her, and I’m not the new payee. Just wondering if this has ever happened to anyone and do you know why this would be the case. Any help would be great

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      Your situation is unusual. Usually a parent with custody of a minor child serves is payee for the child. Is there any possibility that her father filed to be payee? If your stepdaughter is an older teen, she may have contacted Social Security and claimed misuse of her funds and suggested someone else to serve as payee. In any event, the new payee should give you some of her benefis to cover some of her shelter and food expenses. If you do not receive such within a month of being notified of the payee change, I recommend going to Social Security and reporting that none of the child’s benefits are being used for her most basic needs of food and shelter and, therefore, that misuse of her benefits may be occurring.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Kay Derochie

    Dear Allan,

    I could not post your comment because it contained a Social Security number and other people’s last names. To answer your question, Gerald’s daughter could file an application to be payee for her father by going to a Social Security office.

    Sincerely,

    Kay

    • David

      Hi! Kathy i really need to ask u an important question involving my Dad. I’ve been taking care of him about 7 mos now…. Because he has schizophrenia and he can’t handle his money… I’m not his payee i’m his son but i make sure he has shelter , food , clean clothing , bills r paid on time , And now my aunts r threatening to turn me in i dnt knw y cause he has everything he needs… I take really good care of him… Please can u get back to me.

      • David

        Hi! Kay i messaged u earlier! Thos is David again.. Can u please get back to me i really need some feedback a.s.a.p

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear David,

          I typically answer questions within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. I answered your question a few minutes ago.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear David,

        As long as you are not using any of your dad’s money for yourself, you have done nothing wrong. Perhaps you could chat with your aunt and tell her where the money goes and how it is used for your father thus defusing the situation. If you haven’t already done so, start saving receipts for everything you buy for him. You can also file to be his representative payee, which would give you formal authority to help your dad.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

      • Kathy

        Hi david I am not the one you spoke with my advice to you is If you can get your father to ssi or have him sign a letter saying he wants you as his payee and get to ssi right away otherwise you will have some problems. I went throuth the same thing & wind up in court with family. Cover your back & your fathers. GOOD LUCK! Kathy

  • Kathy Reynolds

    I am currently a payee for a family member who is mentally ill. I no longer want to be the payee and need to know if you can share info on other agencies who might be willing to take over the responsibility so that SS won’t stop his disability checks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      If there is no reliable family member or friend to assume responsibility, try contacting your state’s health and human services department for a referral to a non-profit or governmental agency that might provide those services.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Alicia

        I have this same question as I can no longer deal with the bipolar behavior of the person. I am the only family member locally and would also like to to pursue this option. Thank you for the information.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Alicia.

  • Val Olson

    My brother is on SSI and has had the same payee for a long time. His payee is very intimidating, unkind and will not go out of his way to provide helpful information when needed. Does my brother need to identify a different payee and then request a change with Social Security powers that be? Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Val,

      Yes, your brother can request a different payee. It will be up to the Social Security Administration whether to honor his request and their decision cannot be appealed. I suggest that your brother be very specific about the reasons the payee is unsatisfactory and that he have someone else in mind to suggest as his new payee and that he gives reasons why he thinks the other person would make a good payee. If that person is willing to serve, he or she might go to Social Security with your brother and complete a payee application at that time.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • john habel

    can my 18 year old daughter become my payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      Yes, it is possible for your eighteen-year-old daughter to be your payee. She would need to complete the necessary application with Social Security and they would evaluate her suitability. If you support her being your payee, you can also express your opinion; although you can not appeal Social Security’s decision on who is your payee. (You can appeal whether or not you need a payee.)

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • annette

    ss disability said i need a payee but i have a letter from my doctor will they make me payee

    • Kay Derochie

      Hello Annette,

      I am assuming from your question that the letter from your doctor says that you are capable of handling your own funds. If that is the case, then do take the letter to the Social Security Administration. They may well consider the letter and make you the payee for your own benefits. Good luck!

    • laverne wickersham

      SSI is taking $280
      Every month out of my Check, they say is for cost of food and shelter, neither my payee or SSI has given me a valid explanation as to where or whom is receiving this monies each month. If my SSI check increases, so does the amount that they take out for food and shelter., I pay my own rent, bills, food, etc-my SSI amount is only $480 a month, which makes it nearly impossible for me to pay for food , and shelter for myself, the amount deducted in amount of $280 is a considerable amount I could surely use each month towards my bills, rent, food etc-making my living more comfortable than struggling each month, how do I find out where or why this monies is deducted from my monthly income?? And what I can do to receive this amount to my monthly SSI check??

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Laverne,

        It sounds as if an error is being made if you are living alone and paying all lyour own rent, utilities and food. You and your payee need to make an appointment with a claims representative to get the situation corrected. Take your rental agreement or other proof of your rental amount and when you started paying rent.

        If you are living with someone else, the in-kind support is being charged from them. If you are buying your own food and paying fair market value for your room rent including utilities or you are paying your share of rent or mortgage and utilities and are buying your own food, then likewise, you should not have a deduction. If this is the case, take a statement from the person you are living with to confirm the amount you are paying and when you started paying it and also copies of documents that show the shelter costs.

        If the representative you see isn’t responsive, ask to file a formal reconsideration appeal of the amount you are being paid and submit all the evidence. (The appeal form SSA-561 can be obtained from the office and can be found online.)

        Sincerely
        Kay

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Annette,

      Submit the letter when you appeal the fact that you need a payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Annette,

      See my response to your first post. With the letter from your doctor, you have a good chance of becoming your own payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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