Do I have to have a representative payee for my Social Security Disability payments?

By / March 3, 2016 / After You’re Approved for Social Security Disability & SSI / 556 Comments

Learn how Social Security decides you need a representative payee and how to appeal to receive your Social Security Disability payments directly.

How Social Security Decides the Need for a Representative Payee
If you are an adult, when the claims examiner reviews your claim to determine whether you are eligible for benefits, he or she also reviews all the information in your claim file to determine your capability to manage money. Capability means that you have the physical and mental capacity and judgment to either use, or direct someone to use, your funds to take care of your current needs. This includes prioritizing your basic needs of shelter, food, clothing, personal care items, and medical and dental care first. If it is determined that you are not able to do this because of your medical or psychiatric condition, then the Social Security Administration must pay your benefits to a representative payee.

When and How to Appeal a Representative Payee Decision
If you have been advised that a representative payee will be appointed to receive your benefits and you believe that you are capable of making appropriate financial decisions to care for yourself, it can be helpful to discuss the matter with a physician who knows you well. If your doctor agrees that you are capable of handling your funds, then it could be appropriate to appeal, submitting a letter from the doctor that explains why the doctor believes you are capable of handling your own funds. You can find information on how to appeal in our articles I Was Denied Social Security Disability. What Can I Do? and What Is a Social Security Request for Reconsideration?

If you are under age eighteen, unless you have been legally emancipated, you must have a representative payee to receive and manage your Social Security disability payments. While theoretically a minor could appeal this decision, the likelihood of winning such an appeal is virtually nil.

While you can appeal the need for a payee, if it is found that you need a payee, you cannot appeal the choice of who serves as your payee. You can, of course, provide input into the selection process, but the final decision is Social Security’s.

More Information about Representative Payees
Our article What Is a Social Security Disability Representative Payee? outlines the duties of the representative payee who receives your disability payments and information about the payee selection process is available in How Does Social Security Choose the Representative Payee for My Social Security Disability Benefit?

Do I have to have a representative payee for my Social Security Disability payments?
5 (100%) 1 vote

  • Dear Christy,

    It is possible that it the report of your mother’s death was too late to change the payee for the current month and it was sent to your mother’s bank account or DirectExpress card. I suggest that you call Social Security to find out whether the payment was paid and where it was directed. If it went to a bank account and the bank is notified her death, the funds will be returned to Social Security for reissuance. If it went to a DirectExpress card, as how the money will be recouped to be be paid to your current payee.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Katherine,

    You need to apply to be payee for your grandson, which will result in the benefits being sent to you. Take some proof that the child lives with you. You can report the date the child came to you and the fact that the current payee has not turned over any of the funds for the child’s care. Social Security may investigate for misuse of funds. If they can get the money back, it will be reissued to you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mike,

    Your disability does not have to be redetermined, but I suggest that you discuss the situation with your physician and have him or her complete an SSA-787 stating that you are capable of handling your own benefits. The form is available at http://www.ecpayee.org/uploads/8/8/7/4/8874367/doctor_statement_ssa_787.pdf.

    Also, if you are not now received Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) on your mother’s earnings record, I suggest that you apply because the CDB income could be more than the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) you now receive. CDB are paid to unmarried disabled adult children who became disabled before age twenty-two.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Destiny,

    You can apply for disability benefits for yourself while being payee for your son.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Andrew,

    You can have your mother’s physician complete an SSA-787 that indicates that your mother is not able to direct the use of her own funds. Then take the form to Social Security and file an application to be her representative payee. The form is available at http://www.ecpayee.org/uploads/8/8/7/4/8874367/doctor_statement_ssa_787.pdf.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lexx,

    You can move out of your mother’s home and given that you will only be thirty minutes away, she can still serves as your representative payee if she is willing to do so. To receive the maximum SSI benefit, you must pay your share of shelter expenses where you live now and at your boyfriend’s house if you move. The same is true of food if you share food with your mother or would be sharing with your boyfriend.

    Your share is the total shelter expenses and food expenses if you share food 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.

    Something you may want to consider is the financial impact your moving out will have on your mother. For example, will she have to look for another less expensive place to live once you move? If so, you might want to give her a few months of warning so she can rearrange her life as needed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vicmines,

    Yes, that is correct.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vicmines,

    If your daughter is mentally capable, she can apply to receive her benefits directly and provide a bank routing number and bank account number for deposit. You and she can go to Social Security for her to apply to have this change made.

    Sincerely,
    Kay
    Kay

  • Amber

    My son is 20 and receiving ssi. I’m his living care provider and his conservator he is receiving non-medical care and 24/7 supervision through ihss but ssi has him under living independently under state category. I asked them to put him under correct category but they will not. Does this change his payment? We live in California. He’s receiving $735 from Federal and $160 from the State.
    Thank you
    Amber

    • Dear Amber,

      Your son is currently receiving the highest SSI rate. His receiving care from an IHSS provider does not affect his living arrangements or payment amount for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Dorian,

    Usually Social Security will act on the recommendation and solicit a payee application. If you believe you do not need help in consistently making decisions to pay shelter and food costs and other necessities before less critical purchases, I suggest you discuss this with your physician. If your physician agrees, he or she can complete an SSA-787 that you can present to Social Security to rebut the need for a payee. The form SSA-787 is available at http://www.ecpayee.org/uploads/8/8/7/4/8874367/doctor_statement_ssa_787.pdf.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear LaMesha,

    Usually a remote payee will not be approved. For you to continue to be your friend’s payee you would have to devise a plan for knowing what his needs were and for assuring that he was using money you sent for food and basic household supplies got spent for those things (possibly sending money weekly). You could pay rent and utilities directly. Depending on the type of community he lives in, you might be able establish an account at a local grocery store that could be used only for food, personal hygiene and household supplies, but nowadays finding that kind of mom-and-pop store is not easy.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Curious,

    Yes, beginning the month after your child turned eighteen, deeming of your income and resources to him stopped and for him to receive unreduced benefits, he needs to be paying his share of shelter and food expenses unless his food is purchases separately, for example, because of a special diet. His share is the total shelter expenses and food expenses if he shares food 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.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Blank,

    If you are an adult or you know of another responsible adult who can serve as your friend’s payee, you or that adult could apply to be payee explaining the situation. Another possibility is to talk with a social service agency about the situation to see whether your friend can be placed in a good group home upon release from detention with the state or an attorney serving as payee and seeing her needs are met. The second possibility may be the better long-term solution.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kay,

    I suggest that you go to Social Security to apply to be payee for the individual. Take the information you shared with me and written proof of the eviction notice and the back rent due to back up your statement. Then I suggest talking with the landlord explaining the situation and pledging to pay a small amount on the back rent each month once you are made payee if he or she will hold off on eviction.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Carly,

    Your child is likely receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, not Social Security Disability, which is paid to wage earners. As long as the mother of your child reported the child support to the Social Security Administration, it is legal for your child to get both SSI and child support, and it would have been up to the mother to let you know.

    Given that the child is in your care half the time with you paying for the child’s food and other needs at that time, it would be reasonable for you and the child’s mother to negotiate so that you have half of the total SSI and current child support for use when the child is with you. This last opinion is just a suggestion and not driven by law in anyway because the support has been voluntary. If you stop paying support or reduce it, the SSI will increase.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Nina,

    The Social Security Administration has the authority to choose a payee who will see that the rent and utilities are paid first before other expenditures. You can disagree with who is made payee, but you cannot appeal the decision; Social Security has the final say.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lacey,

    You can appeal the fact that you need a representative payee without appealing the medical approval of your claim. (You cannot appeal who is selected to be payee if more than one person applies.) Appeal at the local office on form SSA-561. If your physician agrees you are capable of directing the use of your funds to consistently provide yourself with housing, utilities, food, and other necessities before other expenditures, you can support your appeal with a statement from your physician on form SSA-787, which is available to printout at http://www.ecpayee.org/uploads/8/8/7/4/8874367/doctor_statement_ssa_787.pdf.

    Appealing could delay your payment; but if you are capable, it might be better to have the first payment and back pay come to you directly even if it takes a bit longer.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Megan,

    You and your sister can go to Social Security , where she can apply to be your payee. Explain why you want the payee change and be prepared to give some specific examples of unnecessary use of your benefits and how you would like to see it spent or saved instead.
    Social Security will decide whether to change payees or retain your mother as payee and their decision can not be appealed. Be aware that your sister will need to give the bulk of your benefits to your mother to pay for you housing and food costs, as it is likely that your benefits are needed for part of the rent or mortgage, the utilities, and food; and those things should be paid first.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tynisha,

    Your grandmother should not have turned the money over to your mother to manage; she should have managed it directly.

    If you are age eighteen or more, you might be able to receive your benefits directly. I suggest that you discuss your capability with your physician. If the doctor thinks you are able to manage your money and use it for shelter and food first before other expenditures, ask the doctor to complete a form SSA-787. Then take it to Social Security and apply to be your own payee. If the doctor says that you do need assistance with managing money, then you and your friend could go to Social Security and the friend could apply to be payee. (SSA-787 is available at http://www.ecpayee.org/uploads/8/8/7/4/8874367/doctor_statement_ssa_787.pdf.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Nikki,

    I suggest that you and, if they are mentally capable, the twins go to the Social Security office and report that the current payee is not taking care of the twins business with Social Security to see that benefits are received and used for their care. Then apply to be payee for them yourself. Explain that they live with you and you are responsible for their care. Alternatively, the twins can try to become their own payees, but it is very unlikely that will be granted because they are minors. If benefits continue after they turn eighteen, they could apply then.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Cassie,

    If you are receiving Social Security dependent benefits because you are still in high school and, therefore, through that dependency eligible for benefits, you may not be able to make the change. You can, however, double-check this with the Social Security Administration (SSA). If they agree, you can file to be your own payee.

    If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for a disability, you will need to prove that you are capable of managing your funds to pay for your basic needs of shelter, food, medical care, hygiene items, and basic clothing before other purchases. One way to do this is to discuss capability with your physician. If your doctor believes you are capable, he or she can complete an SSA-787 form, which is available at http://www.ecpayee.org/uploads/8/8/7/4/8874367/doctor_statement_ssa_787.pdf. You can then take the doctor’s statement to SSA and file to be your own payee. (Note that if you receive SSI and do not pay for your shelter and food, your SSI benefits will be reduced.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • alison

    I am looking for advice. The condition I have is Autism and I know my disability won’t go away. I am very smart and I know I can handle my money. I am very involved in managing my funds and my mom knows she won’t be around forever and I am planning on getting married too and I know that I can handle. My doctor just filled out the proper paperwork so I can become my own payee. My mom has been my payee and she sees I am capable of managing my funds. Does anyone know what the chances of me becoming my own payee?

    • Dear Alison,

      You have a reasonable possibility of being approved to be your own payee especially if your mother writes a supporting statement. As an aside, if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB), your marriage may affect your SSI payment amount or, unless your husband receives certain kinds of disability benefits, your CDB eligibility.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jennifer

    I am applying for disability. can my husband be my “representative of the applicant”?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      You can appoint anyone to handle the filing of your claim and handling of requests for additional information requests. There is a specific appointment of representative form.If you appoint your husband, all inquiries will be sent to him and Social Security will likely deal only with him and not answer any direct inquiries from you. If you are approved and you are mentally capable, then all communication will revert to you again.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rachel

    My mother is my payee because when I was a minor I started receiving SSI/SSDI for disability. But I believe I am capable of managing my SSDI/SSI myself. Where do I start so I can take the first steps toward being my own payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rachel,

      I suggest that you discuss your capability to handle money and make sound decisions regarding its use (paying rent, utilities and food first, followed by personal and household hygiene items and medical and dental care before other purchases). If the doctor agrees you are capable, you can ask him or her to complete an SSA-787 form, which is available at http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/ssa827_informationpage.htm. Take the completed form to Social Security and file an application to be your own payee.

      Note that if you have never worked, you are not receiving SSDI, which is Social Security Disability. You could be receiving Childhood Disability Benefits on a deceased, retired, or disabled parent’s earnings record in addition to getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you are getting SSI, you must pay for your shelter and food or your benefits will be reduced.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Chris

    Hello,

    I applied for SSDI on 8/24/16. I am 30. Live in NYC.

    I have Ankylosing Spondylitis (seronegative mir’s show evidence at ankles and si joints with edema and damage), Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Secondary Osteoarthritis, Bi-Lateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Bi-Lateral Labral Tear in Hips, Tendynoisis Bi Lateral, Spondylolisis, Facet Hyperthropy, Disc Herniations, DDD, Bulging Discs, Foraminal Stenosis, Bi Lateral Multilevel Radiculopathy, Chronic Cervical Radiculopathy, Tennis Elbow. Everything Supported by MRI’s, EMG’s. Seeing Doctors Regularly. Recently Symptoms worsened after I had a head injury which created headaches. Doctor said I had a concussion, even though the CT scan at the hospital said it was clear. I had to have 4 staples.

    I applied with Binder and Binder. All 4 of my MD’s filled out the RFC’s provided by Binder and Binder and fully supported my case. I see 4 doctors. Rheumatologist, Neurologist, Orthopedist, Psychiatrist. PT regularly and Therapy regularly.

    We obtained all of the medical records and submitted from the time I was diagnosed with the AS (its a type of inflammatory arthritis) 2013.

    DDS just requested all the medical records from the doctors again, is this normal? Binder and Binder said yes, but I am just asking others out there.

    Also the Psychiatrist called me yesterday that he got a package from SSA to fill out. What else does SSA ask the doctors to complete and fill out. I called the other doctor and they didn’t get anything to fill out. It is a big facility so now I am afraid it got lost.

    Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chris,

      The documentation requested varies from claim to claim. You can call DDS and get a list of all documents and reports requested so you can follow up on anything outstanding. I was not aware that records already received would be requested; but if Binder and Binder says that is the case, then it probably is. It may be to check to be sure no records were stratigically omitted from those you submitted.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • A. Murray

      Sorry, i cant find how i can ask a question on this…..so the only thing i can do is reply to another persons questio

      There is a form every year to be filed by the representative. She moved. What number form is that and we can just print out at home?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear A.,

        The specific type of payee reporting form varies depending on whether the beneficiary is a minor or spouse or not and whether or not the beneficiary lives with the payee. I recommend that the payee contact Social Security to report her change of address and inquire whether it is time for her to complete a payee reporting form, that is, has one been requested.If so, she can get the form number from the representative if she reports her move by phone and then search for a printable version online. Alternatively, if the payee knows the beneficiary’s claim number and other identifying information, she can try to complete the report online at https://www.ssa.gov/payee/form/#.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Darla

    My step son receives benefits. Recently custody has changed and he is living with us full time. How do we go about changing the payee? What documentation do we need to bring to do so?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Darla,

      You or your spouse can go to Social Security and apply to be the child’s payee. If the child attends school, get verification of school enrollment in your area or that you reported change of address at his school. Another alternative is a letter from the child’s other parent.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Brandon

    I receive disability and I voluntarily chose to have a payee and picked the company volunteers of America and have been using them for over 2 years and I was never incapable of handling my money and needs but they are making me prove that I am and I don’t feel it’s necessary so what can I do about this. My payee never calls me back when I need something. She’s called me 1 time in 2 years and I’m tired of messing with her

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brandon,

      You can apply to be your own payee. To support your application, you can ask your physician to complete an SSA-787 form giving his or her opinion that you are consistently mentally capable of handling your benefits. The form can be downloaded from the Internet at http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/ssa827_informationpage.htm

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • E.Bartrum

        I am currently the representative payee for someone in southwest Florida.I want to move to a different part of the state.The person wants to know if they can move in with me when I move. We are both over 21 and of the opposite sex and I didn’t know if social security would allow this since we are not related.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear E.

          If the person for whom you are payee is receiving Social Security benefits, he or she can live with whomever he or she wants without affecting benefits; only the change of address need be reported. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to avoid a reduction in benefits, the person either has to pay half of the food and shelter costs (or half of shelter and buy food independently) or pay fair market value (FMV) for a room (and buy food separately) or FMV for room and board.

          Share is the total expenses 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.

          FMV for room is the amount such rooms are renting for in your geographic area. Social Security law does not specify an amount required to be paying fair market value for room because the economy is different in every location. You can figure out a fair market rental rate by looking at ads for room rentals in your area or by choosing state and county on the federal HUD website at https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/fmr/fmr_il_history. /select_Geography.odn. It will not list rooms, but it will list studio or efficiency (one-room) apartments. A room in a house would probably be about half of that amount. Fair market value for food would reasonably be the maximum food stamp grant for one person, which is $194.00.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Raven kelly

    I am my moms payee and she keep making loans and ive told here to stop. She now can’t afford her meds. What ate the regulations to making loans ive heard that she isnt supposed to be allowed to.how can I get this under control.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Raven,

      Consider not making the loan payments. Instead purchase her current needs including medication. Failure to make payments should reduce her ability to make new loans. Note that if your mother owns her home, my suggestion might not be a good idea because she could get a judgment and lien against her home.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • KH

    Dear Kay my hearing is coming up next month when I did my application I had saw my CD the rep that help me with my application at my local Social Security office suggested a payee my doctor checked off on my forms that I could handle my benefits. Does this mean I will have to have a payee? My psychiatrist says I can handle my own benefits. I am capable of handling my own money.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear KH,

      If it is determined that you need a payee, you can appeal that decision based on your psychiatrist’s opinion. You do not say which doctor checked that you could handle your funds. If it was not the psychiatrist, have the psychiatrist complete an SSA-787, which you can get online at http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/ssa827_informationpage.htm.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • KH

        Thank you Kay it was my psychiatrist that I’ve been seeing.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, KH.

  • Kathy stults

    My grandson gets SSD because he is autistic he is 16 yrs old, his mother is his payee. My is question is… he is moving in with me because he doesn’t want to live with his mother because she is moving out of state, can I just go to the social security administration to change his payee to myself since I will be the one caring for him? If so what would I need to take with me to do this. I will be the one responsible for his schooling, doctors visits, & caring for him.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      Yes, you can apply to be payee for your grandson. It would be helpful to have his mother make a statement that she wants you to be payee because he will be living with you and she is moving out of state.

      You will also need to provide information about his living arrangements in your home, specifically the number of people in the household, the total food and shelter costs, and how much your grandson will pay toward those costs. (If he does not pay his share, his benefits will be reduced.) His share is the total expenses 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.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • KESHAUNA ROBINSON

    My son gets SSDI and I’m the representative payee. I have to sign over temporary custody to my mother. Being that she is getting custody would that affect my son’s SSDI check if she has income?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Keshauna,

      If your child is getting Social Security dependent benefits, living with his grandmother will not affect his benefits. If he is getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and pays his share of shelter and food expenses, his SSI payments will not be affected. His share is the total expenses 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.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Just got approved ssd my letter say sis dr suggest I need a payee my dr and I agree I do not what can I do

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sue,

          You can appeal the fact that you need a payee and can ask your physician to complete an SSA-787 to support your appeal. The form SSA-787 can be downloaded and printed from the Internet.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Sonya Frantz

    I’m 16 and had a premature baby on July 29th of this year, and my social worker has suggested to get SSI for my son. Would I be able to be his payee since he is my child?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sonya,

      Because you are a minor, it is unlikely you will be appointed payee. If you are not, perhaps you can talk with the payee and say that you want to be involved in the planning for the use of the benefit each month. (The payee is supposed to make sure your child has shelter, food, diapers, and clothing and hygiene items, and medical care before anything else and must account for the use of the funds.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Teresa Taylor

    I am the payee representative for my 20 yr old son. His younger brother just left home to attend college. Do I need to report to SSI that his brother is living on campus? The younger brothers official address is still our home.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Teresa,

      Your younger child may be considered temporarily absent and your home may still be considered his residence. However, his being out of the house most of the time may increase your older son’s share of shelter and food expenses and affect his benefits if he is receiving the maximum benefit based on being in your household and paying his share. If he already has a benefit that has been reduced to $488.67, his brother’s absence would not decrease his benefit. Or, if he is paying a flat fee for rent or for room and board, not based on a share, then one less person in your household won’t matter because your older son is not part of your household, but a renter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Neida

    Hi,
    I want to move out of state on my own, my mom who is 72 years old is my payee, how would I go about it to leave the state and have my benefits transfered to the state I am planning to move to.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Neida,

      If you have a responsible relative or friend, you could ask that person to file an application to be your payee.
      Another option is to talk with your physician (mental health provider if your disability is psychiatric). If he or she believes that you are capable of consistently using your benefits to pay for rent, utilities and food before anything else, then ask him to complete form SSA-787, which you can get by searching SSA-787 on the Internet. Ask him to indicate that although you are capable of paying for your basic needs and managing your funds that your inability to work has not changed, assuming this is true. Then go to Social Security with the SSA-787 and apply to be your own payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sellers

        Hi my name is Sally and I have an organization question. I work for an agency that supports people with Intellectual disabilities. Recently we moved someone into a group home from another agency. That agency was her rep payee. Our agency does not provide that service. We have applied with an outside non profit to take over this responsibility however this process can take some time. So 2 questions (1) During these types of transitions shouldn’t the current payee send some of the cash on hand to the new provider to ensure their needs are met until a new payee is appointed?(2) isn’t the current payee responsible for reporting this change?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sellers,

          Yes, the current payee should be paying the beneficiary’s housing and food and clothing and so on, so the payee should be making a payment to the current group home. The payee should also report the beneficiary’s move, but the non-profit that is applying to be the new payee can make the report and also report that the current payee is not paying group home for the beneficiary’s care during the transition.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Sophie

    Hi My autistic son receives disability and my husband is his rep. payee. My husband is also moving out of town to work construction and I live out of state for school. My mother will be keeping my son for the next year. She also receives disability. If I change his payee to my mother will this affect either of their eligibility for disability? This is my mother’s only source of income. Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sophie,

      Your mother’s being payee for your son will not affect her benefits. If your mother receives Social Security Disability (SSD) and not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), neither will having your son in the house affect her benefits. Your son’s SSI (and your mother’s benefits if she receives SSI) will not be affected by their living together as long as each pays his or her share of shelter and food expenses or just of shelter if the buy food separately (with or without food stamps). Each person’s share is the total expenses 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.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Penny

    Dear kay my child recives ssd benifits from her fathers claim in place of his child support. I am the costodoal parent and she lives with me i also have full leagal custody of this child. Resently her fathers mother has found a way too become her payee. This woman is rarely visted lives 2 hours from my child. This woman is also known for her dishonesty and scheeming. How is it she can walk into an office and appy to become a payee with out involvement in my childs life

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Penny,

      There is no way to know what your child’s grandmother told Social Security to get the payee changed. Go to Social Security immediately and file an application to become payee again. Take any proof you may have that your child lives with you. Include on the application that her grandmother rarely see the child. If they say they cannot make the change back in time for the next payment, ask if they can suspend the payment until the payee matter is corrected.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Crystal

    Hi I have a question i just got custody of my daughter from my grandmother and found out that my daughter gets social security benefits from when my grandfather passed away and that my grandmother is the payee and using the money for other things besides my daughter my grandfather wanted it to be put in an account for my daughter’s college how do i go about becoming her payee so the money can go where its supposed to

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Crystal,

      You can apply to be your daughter’s payee by completing an application in your local Social Security office. Take some proof that the child is living with you. An additional note: the information you provided is a bit confusing. Unless the grandchild has been adopted by the grandparent, for grandchildren to receive Social Security benefits on a grandparent’s earnings record, both parents have to be either be deceased or receiving Social Security Disability benefits. If that is not the case, your daughter may be receiving a different type of benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • My son draws ssi from me my daughter is his payee he ran away ss sent us a letter saying the checks have stopped untill we all go in to a ss office at the same time now can ss start his check back up with out notifying my daughter or me sense he is a runaway

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear James,

          For your son’s benefit to be reinstated, his whereabouts has to be known and a determination has to be made as to which responsible adult is in sufficient contact with him to serve as his payee. If another adult applies to be his payee, it is possible that the change could be made without notification; however, at this point, the action you and your daughter can take is to go on record with Social Security that he is a runaway and that you would like benefits to remain suspended until you can locate and bring the boy back home.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Jeff

    Hi Kay,

    First let me say thank you for helping so many people! I’m sorry that I must also ask for some advice. My mother is receiving SSI due to an auto accident many years ago. Because she sustained some brain damage, she decided to let my nieces husband become her payee due to a lack of confidence in her own ability to manage the money. My niece has since divorced from this man and my mother has limited contact with him. I did some reading and found that my mom can request a different payee which I advised her to do. However, she has a problem right now. She explained to me that every year she and the payee must fill out some forms to reconfirm the payee arrangement and mail them back in. She says they did this a few months ago but she is not sure if she mailed them in. Her SSI check always arrives on the same day at the same time but yesterday it did not come. She called SSA but she says they refused to give her any details and advised her to talk to her payee. Is this how it works? She can’t even ask questions about her own SSI? If she forgot to send in the forms I would assume she would be notified but perhaps I’m wrong. It seems unbelievable that SSA would simply cancel sending her checks without any notification. I live out of the U.S. and it’s very difficult for me to handle this situation from where I am. I would appreciate any advice you could give.

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jeff,

      When an individual has a representative payee, Social Security communicates only with the payee, so for your mother to get information directly from Social Security both her payee and she would have to go to a Social Security office or both would have to be on a phone call. The current payee has to inquire about the missing benefit check.

      If she has little contact with the current payee, I am wondering how he knows what are needs are and how he is paying for them. Is he just giving her the money? If so, she may not need a payee. If she needs a payee, would the niece make a good candidate? If so, she and the niece could go to Social Security for the niece to file a payee application. If your mother is now capable of paying her own basic needs (shelter, food, medical before other expenditures, she might apply to be her own payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • K

        Sorry again, not sure how to post a new comment. My husband was approved. The judge recommended a payee. Why? I’m his spouse and am fully capable of managing finances. In fact, I’ve been doing that all along. What are our options? Because it’s such a long and arduous process from initial application to final approval we’ve struggled as others have to keep afloat these past two years. That backpay will allow us to breathe freely. What can we do? Appeal the decision? I’m confused. Thank you for your time.

        K

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear K.,

          Your husband can appeal the decision that he needs a payee, but the simplest is for you to file an application, as requested, to be your husband’s payee. The money will come to you for you to use on your husband’s behalf–housing, food, clothing, transportation, medical, etc. Once a year, you will be asked for an accounting of the use of the funds. The accounting is very simple for a spouse with whom you are living. The main thing is that in the first year you keep a record and receipts for how the back benefits are used.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Lisa

    My sister pass away and had two kids? A Couple of months before she passed away she made me a rep. Payee for one of her son’s who has been receiving ssi. The kids stay with me and my mom and sisters all pull together and take care of the kids day to day needs. After my sister passed their father went into ssi to claim the kids mother death survivor benefits. SSI gave the dad benefits for BOTH kids to him because he said they stayed with him. I had a re determination interview where they went by my income and etc. They discovered it was wrong in their system and the benefits for the one child start going back to me the rep payee. The father is still getting the payment for the other child and wants to start back getting the payment for the child on ssi. The father works full time out of town and comes back only on some weekend. He does not give money for any of the kids for which I have to take care of both kids with only one check. He is very upset and wants ssi to give him both checks. My question is what can I do to make sure that I stay the rep. payee. Yes they have a dad BUT he is NOT here. Their school is here where I stay and the dad doesn’t have a permanent resident because he’s on the road. The dad wants all the power but none of the responsibility. What do I do since I and the person who is responsible for the kids.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      I suggest that you go to Social Security to explain the situation and file to be payee for the other child’s survivor benefits. Ask that it be put in the record how often the father sees the children and who takes care of their daily needs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Lisa

        Last month the dad went to ssi office to try and get it changed. They called and left a message. The next day I went and sat and explained the situation with the lady who called me. They Asked if dad had custody. And I told them there’s not a custody issue because it’s not like we have been fighting it out trying to take the kids from him in a legal way. The lady said if the dad doesn’t have a felony or other circumstances that would keep him from not qualifing, then they couldn’t not deny him being rep payee. The same ssi lady called me yesterday to ask about custody because she forgot the situation and wanted to know where the kids residence at. Seems like lady forgot what we talked about and now dad is continuing to call her to get it changed.
        School is starting in a couple of weeks and I know he is going to drop them off without anything like he always do. When my sister wrote the letter stating she wanted me to be the payee when she died, does that over rule him trying to take over?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lisa,

          You should be made payee when the children move into residence with you. If you are not, their dad should give you their benefit money to care for them. If he does not, you could try reporting him for misuse of funds in that he is not supporting the children with the money. You can show the letter from you sister, but it does not have legal power.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Kris

        I am the payee of my son. He just recently got temporary placement of our child. He’s going to file as payee. I was just wondering, since his already almost to end of the month, will one last check come to me?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kris,

          It is possible that you will receive another benefit check. If you do, you need to give the money to your son’s new custodial adult. When you do, try to turn over the money with a money order or check and/or request a written receipt from the new payee, so that you have proof of transferring the money and not using it for yourself.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Michael Hagelin

    Can a bank force you to have a pay payee for your social security. Do they have right to do to anything will help

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      The Social Security Administration determines whether or not benefits will be paid to a payee. If your benefits are being paid to a payee, then the bank has to set up the bank account that will receive the benefits so that the account belongs to you but only your payee has access to it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Damaris

    Im 39 yrs old and 2yrs ago i was aproved for ss desability payments with my sister been my representative payee for my childrens and I. Now i wanna buy a house but i dont know if i can because my sister is my payee. My exact question is Can I still buy a house if i have a payee? How that will affect me priving my income to my lenders?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Damaris,

      The money paid to your sister belongs to you and to your children. Your ability to secure a loan will be based on your income and your credit history and other factors related to you. Your payee can get benefit verification letters for you and the children to show to the lender. Mortgage payments can be set up on direct debit from the bank account to which your benefits are deposited, which will provide some assurance to the lender.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mitch

    I just moved to florida from North Carolina. My payee still resides in NC. Do I change my address to FLorida thru Social Security or is my payee responsible in doing that?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mitch,

      Your payee is responsible for reporting your residence change of address; however, you should double-check that it has been reported because payment amount depends in part on living arrangements. Also, there is a question of how the payee can take care of your needs from another state. I suggest that you go to your local Florida Social Security office to discuss these matters.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Holly

    My brother wants to voluntarily terminate his SSDI benefits. I do not think that he has a payee but it is possible that our father is. We were told by a phone representative that all he had to do was send in a letter stating he wished to terminate benefits and that was it. That seems too easy. If my father is a payee, does he have to complete any forms/letters approving it? My brother seems to think he is going to be required to come in for an exit interview, which he does not want to do (social anxiety and paranoid schizophrenia – he does not like to interact with others). He is adamant about getting out of SSDI, social services, etc. and we are in a position where we can support him. My questions are: (1) does the payee need to approve a recipient’s request to terminate benefits; and (2) is there a required in-person exit interview? Thank you very much.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Holly,

      There is no required exit interview that I know of, but the statement would best be signed by both your brother and his payee. Before this is done, consider whether your family is in the position of paying all your brother’s medical expenses and supporting him for life. If he has Medicare, it will stop also. If he stops the benefits now, he will not be able to restart them. Is there money available to support him after family retires or passes away?

      It might be worthwhile discussing with him that SSDI is not a welfare benefit, that it is an earned benefit for which he paid taxes. The only things he needs to report are working, moving (so letters can reach him), and any change in the bank account to which benefits are sent.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Terra

    I’m a 23 years old and I’ve been manage my own money with bills and food without my payee’s help since I was 18, is it possible to remove my payee or be my own payee on my ssi account? The bank told me I can’t cash my own money out without my payee’s signature and so I don’t have to ask my payee “Hey, I need your signature before I go to the bank.” occasionally. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Terra,

      You can apply to be your own payee. Submit a statement from your current payee that you have been managing your own money and paying your own bills for the last five years. You can also support your claim by discussing your capability with your physician and have the doctor complete a form SSA-787, which is available online.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Russ

    I found out that I may be moving soon with my girlfriend (who is not my rep payee). My father is my rep payee and I don’t know how and if this will have an effect on my SSI. It’s not like we’re moving out of the state, we’re just moving into our own place. I’m worried that this move may cause me to lose my benefits and it’s honestly scaring me half to death (I struggle with high anxiety, depression, and a number of other medical problems, and I’m worried about losing my benefits. Excessive worry is not uncommon for me). I read that if I wanted to be my own rep payee that they may want to review my case and THAT scares me. All I want to do is live my life without the constant cloud of doubt hanging over my head that at any minute I won’t have any of the benefits I need. That means I won’t have the psychiatrist I see, the meds I take, etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I’ve been more anxious since finding out about the potential move, feel like I’m constantly on the verge of a major panic attack…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Russ,

      You could move and have your father continue as your representative payee. He could pay your half of the utilities and rent directly to the utility companies and the landlord and any medical costs to the providers. If you plan to share food with your girlfriend, he could give you food money each week. You could discuss with him how the rest of the money would be handled. If you and your girlfriend split the rent and utilities (and food if you share) evenly, your SSI will not be reduced. I suggest you discuss this option with your father. If he is not willing and your girlfriend is of age and you trust her with money, she could apply to be the payee and handle the money the same as described.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • John

    I am a 33 year old male on SSI. I live alone yet my 92 year old grandfather is my payee.
    I want to move out of state and be able to control my own money – I already do since my payee cuts me a check once a month for my full amount, and we have a joint checking account.
    Like I said, I want to move out of state without my payee, how do I go about doing this?
    Any advice will help.
    Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      I suggest that you and your your grandfather go to Social Security together for you to apply to be your own payee. You and he can explain that you have been managing your funds all along and have been responsible in paying rent, utilities, and food before other expenditures.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lindsey

    Hi, I am 23 years old with Ssi and disability. I am my own payee but have a joint account with my dad to help pay bills. I am my own payee and our bank account is joined, yet my dad took my card and I rarely ever get spending money. I might get 100$ every 3-4 months to spend. Most bills are in my name. We live in an apartment based on income. Our bills add up to about 1,000 a month. But I am paying $733 of that. My dad pays the rest. He has a job and makes decent money. But every time I ask for a few dollars he says no? Can I do anything about this? I believe it’s unfair. I have depression and anxiety. And I spend most of my time at home, my depression is worsening. I have no money to go to the movies or to get out of the house. Can I do anything about my father taking my bank card? Can I do anything about him not giving me access to my money? He is not the payee. I agreed to the joint account to make paying bills easier. But I feel as though he’s been unfair.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lindsey,

      You are obligated to pay half the expenses to be eligible for the maximum SSI. You are your own payee. You can open another bank account and go to Social Security and change the direct deposit to the new account. (Don’t close the current account until your benefits show up in the new account.) Write your father a check for half of the shared housing expenses (and food expenses if you share food) at the first of each month. With the rest expect to pay for your personal hygiene items, haircuts, transportation, clothing, dental care, vision care if applicable, in addition to the entertainment you referenced.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • My mom had a stroke 2.5 months ago. Leading up to it she found she was being mislead in a number of things by her payee. Since she started recovering she has mentioned her intent to be her own. She had an in-home medical social worker speak with her and that person has both verbally endorsed and did a slum test on her too. The MSW stated to me that he feels my mom should challenge the need for one based on his findings. What should my mom do next? She has no payee right now and her money is sitting there doing nothing at this point while she will need it soon.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      I suggest that your mother file an application to be her own payee and have the MSW prepare a report of his opinion that she is now capable of managing her own benefits. Also, she could ask her doctor to complete a form SSA-787 stating that she is capable. The SSA-787 is available online.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Stephanie

        My son is 4 years old he has cp and reseves disability. I plan to leave his father. He miss manages the money but says he will put it back bills are payed but sometimes they don’t. Lights stay on but rent is sometimes missed. I plan to leave him but the check gose to him. When I got it started I requested a payee and I trusted his father but it turns out that I shouldn’t have done that. I can’t prove he uses it for drugs only word of mouth I don’t mind having a payee but I don’t want him to be it. I need to move on from this relationship but don’t have the money to do it with nor trust him to pay my bills once I’m home what do I do?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Stephanie,

          If I understand you right, you and your son are both receiving disability benefits and the father of your child is payee for both of you. You can ask another different person to be payee for both your and your son if you son is going to be living with you. You and that person can go to Social Security together and explain the reasons for requesting a payee change. Alternatively, given that you are aware enough of how to handle money to know that rent and utilities need to be paid first, you might be able to serve as your own and your son’s payee. You could discuss this with your physician. If the physician agrees, he or she can complete an SSA-787 to support your payee applications. The SSA-787 is available online.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Theresa

      My brother gets SSDI and my mother is his payee. He has a 4yr old and my mother is his payee as well.
      The child lives with us and his mother has gone missing. We are planning to file for legal guardianship. He objects.
      So I am wondering he is even allowed to have custody of his child if he needs a payee.
      Ugh.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Theresa,

        Your question is one for a family law attorney. You might try your state’s Bar Association to locate an attorney with that experience.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Chris Hall

    I am the Representative Payee for my brother who is in his late 50’s and a diagnosed Paranoid Schizophrenic, he also had a terrible brain trauma in an accident.
    He has now been medicated to the point where is functioning pretty well and can make solid decisions.

    1. He has asked that I write him a check so he can have money for living expenses – he is in a different state. I told him I can pay his bills but can’t just give him money to pay directly as I need a ‘paper trail’ of what is being paid for. Am I correct in this assumption?

    2. I am contemplating resigning as the Representative Payee as I don’t have the time nor wish to become embroiled in any conflict with the Fed over what is or is not done with this money. How do I disentangle myself from all this?

    3. Last year he finally divorced and he and his ex sold the marital home. He used some of that money to purchase a new home but also has a significant amount of the equity from the sale, invested. Does that disqualify him from receiving benefits in the first place?

    Thank you for your guidance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chris,

      If your brother is receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) and not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the sale of his home and how much money he has invested does not affect his eligibility.

      If you choose, you can go to Social Security and resign as your brother’s payee, but to keep him from being left without income, you might give him warning to apply to be his own payee or find someone local to serve as his payee.

      If you continue to be your brother’s payee, you could pay utilities, insurance, and anything else that is not day-to-day expenses directly and send him money weekly or twice a month for food, household supplies, and gas, etc. If you do this, send him the money by check so you have proof of his receiving it.

      Another question comes up about whether your brother is still disabled or whether with treatment he is now able to work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Chris Hall

        Thank you Kay. Navigating this and wanting to be on the right side of the rules for my sake and the sake of my bro, is often confusing. Having you as a resource is fantastic.

        My brother is well treated but being employable is a different matter. He can function in general but doing so in a structured environment is probably not in the cards.

        Keep up the great work. It is appreciated!

  • Crystal

    Hi Kay!
    I received my FF decision letter today.. Well on the last page the last line says..
    ” it is recommended that a determination be made concerning the appointment of a representative payee who can manage payments in the claimants interest”
    Does that mean my husband had to be my payee, and I can’t be my own? I have MS with lots of symptoms from that, but never would I have thought it would read this way if I am reading it right..
    Thanks for your time!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Crystal,

      The judge recommended that the local office look into whether you need a payee. The local office may or may not do that. If they do and you believe you are capable of handling your benefits, have your physician complete a supporting statement for you on an SSA-787, which can be obtained online.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Crystal

        Oh okay, that makes a bit more sense.
        Thank you!!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Crystal.

          • christine cook

            hello, I also received that letter. I was assigned without any opportunity to show I can handle it. My Dr. is writing a letter as well as many others. I have incurred thousands of dollars in fees and in jeopardy of losing my home of 22 yrs. Can they deny me my funds again regardless of statements?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Christine,

              Your benefits will be paid either to you or to a representative payee. Although your physician’s opinion may be accepted for your to receive your benefits directly, I suggest that you be thinking about who would be a reliable payee if Social Security determines you must have one. Note that paying your benefits to a payee is not denying you your benefits; you should still get use the funds to pay your mortgage and other expenses.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Nina K

            Hi,

            I also received the same letter and have an appointment at my local SSA office for a financial review and the person doing the review said I have to have a rep payee and that I would not be able to be my own. My attorney called and told her I do not need one but she disregarded her opinions. I asked her if I could bring the signed forms (787SSA) from my dr and counselor but said she will not accept them because I fall into two categories of mental health disabilities. I am diagnosed with PTSD, major depressive disorder and anxiety and was approved for SSDI and SSI. I have a lot of problems but handling finances is not one of them. I’ve been on my own and worked my whole life until several years ago. Is there anything I can do to make it so payments go directly to me? Thank you very much!

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Nina,

              My research indicates that the only two prohibitions to direct payment are that the person is a minor or the person has been found incompetent in a court of law. Such a court order would include the appointment of a guardian. An administrative law judge does not make that kind of a decision. The judge will offer an opinion of capability of handling funds, but that is not the same as incompetence. There may be certain diagnoses that require the judge to make the recommendation, but that is not necessarily binding. In any event, you have the right to file a formal appeal challenging the fact that you need a payee. If you file the appeal, submit statements from your physician and your attorney to support your appeal. If you have relatives who think you are capable of handling your funds and consistently paying for shelter, food, and other necessities before other purchases, you could submit statements from them also to support your doctor’s opinion.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • kevin

    ok I just recently had been diagnosed with a rare convulsion “seizures” and due to my non stop attacks of seizures is there any possibilities I will be approved I went to my hearing showed them all my medical evidence and everything but im just worried that it will not be enough evidence, but this is my 3rd year applying cause the first 2 I kept getting denied and then I reapplied for ssd and im hoping I get approved cause over the years I been struggling with life due to my attacks. but I also had a question cause during my hearing I had 2 appointments the same day but with different doctors and when I showed him my medical records all he said was ok perfect we have all the evidence we need then they moved me to another room with the medic and I explained everything to her and she asked me if I was taking any medications I told her no because I have a eeg exam on December 23 and then after the exam and everything is done then they’re going to tell me what there gonna be doing to me so in this case will I be approved and is that enough evidence since I showed them all my hospital stays and diagnoses? and I apologize for my English its horrible.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kevin,

      You can’t know for sure that you will be approved until you get a decision; however, if you are having very frequent seizures, there is a reasonable possibility of approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Mike. Ledwell

      My problem is a little different as I’m led to believe my payee is shorting my SSI

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Mike,

        Please tell me what has led you to believe your payee is using some of your funds. Also, do you have your original award letter that told you how much you are eligible for? With that extra information, I can respond.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Tiani

    How old do you have to be to get your own ssi check because I have seziure disorder and my grandma said I can’t get it until I’m 21 and that she has guardian ship of me until I’m 21…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tiani,

      Your grandmother may have guardianship through a court order until you are twenty-one, but you can become your own payee for your benefits at age eighteen. You can file an application to be your own payee. If you receive Social Security dependent or survivor benefits, benefits will continue after age eighteen only if you are still in high school. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because you are disabled, your eligibility will be reevaluated to see whether you are disabled as an adult based on the adult definition of disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • ben

    who decides how to spend disability funds left over after housing and food and doctors, meds. insurance has been paid. the payee or the beneficiary

    • ben

      waiting for answer, on the yearly report it ask who decided how funds was spent the payee or beneficiary. I the payee has been deciding on everything but only for beneficiary needs. my son has a lot of debt on credit cards. he thinks I should support his living out of my pocket instead of his funds.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Ben,

        Answer that you make the decisions, which is what you are supposed to be doing. (After necessities are paid, you could confer with the beneficiary about how what is left might be spent: hobby materials, saving for a vacation, etc. but that is not required.)

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ben,

      The payee should be observant to other needs–personal hygiene, transportation, clothing, linens and other essential household items. After that, a weekly allowance could be given to the beneficiary for entertainment. The payee might discuss with the beneficiary how he or she would like to use the excess above necessities such as saving for a vacation or buying hobby materials. If the excess is large, I would recommend saving part of it for future unexpected needs such as a dental emergency.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • alexa colon

    Can i get emancipated if my mom doesnt use my ssi checks for me instead she uses all of the ssi checks for past due bills….? I dont even get $1 out of the ssi checks… Would i be able to get emancipated for her using the checks the wrong way and also putting me down knowing that i have a mood disorder … Telling me that i shouldnt have existed …. Would i be able to take her to court and get emancipated?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alexa,

      The legal issue of emancipation of a minor is not handled by Social Security. If you do become emancipated through court proceedings, submit proof and Social Security will make you your own payee.

      As far as how your mother is using your benefits, if she is using all the money to keep a roof over your head and utilities on (paying on past due bills to keep the family from being evicted or from having the lights turned off) and providing food, toilet articles, transportation, etc., then she may not be misusing your funds. On the possibility that there is misuse, you can ask Social Security to ask your mother for an accounting of how the money has been spent and/or try to find another relative to be your payee. If that happens, the payee would need to give your mother money to cover your shelter and food costs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • sherika

    Im 20 i have my own apratment and a baby on the way and my mom is over my SSI and she pay my rent with my SSI now she trying to take half of it can i sign for my own SSI how do i do that?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sherika,

      Your mother must use all your SSI payments for you and none for herself. You can apply to be your own payee and explain why you want to handle your own money. To support your request, you might talk with your doctor about whether he or she thinks you are capable of managing your money. If so, you might ask the doctor to complete an SSA-787 form. If you are still disabled, despite being about to handle money, it would be helpful for the doctor to say so including some reasons for his opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • sherika

        What type of doctor it have to be?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sherika,

          If you see a specialist for your disability, the specialist might be best. If not, then the doctor who knows you best.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Michael

    i’m 20 years old and im receiving ssi however two years ago when i applied for ssi it was requested that i have my mother set as my rep payee because she believed that i would not be able to handle the money responsibly and i agreed. if i wanted to become my own payee under these circumstances what steps would i have to take to do so?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      You can apply to be your own payee by filing an application with Social Security. If your mother is in agreement that you are now able to manage your benefits, paying for shelter, food, medical, and other basic needs before other purchases, you might get a statement from her. Another option is to ask you doctor to complete an SSA-787 (available online) stating you are capable. One thing to keep in mind is that if you have been approved based on a mental illness, improvement to in the ability to handle funds could be an indication that you are able to work. If you are still unable to work, it would be a good idea for the doctor to state you still have limitations that prevent you from working despite your having become financially capable and explain his reasons for his opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Thank you for your excellent site! Is there a “financial acuity test” my doctor could administer to determine if I am capable of resuming the handling of my own financial affairs, now that I am not subject to the affects of “Tardive Psychosis” where certain drugs may make a particular person’s mental illness worse? (see wikipedia article if you do not believe me). I am going through a divorce, and it is no longer advisable to have my husband be my representative payee. My alternative options are not good either. I want to return to work and quit being on social security anyway eventually, and am taking steps to do so.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Diane,

      I am not aware of any particular test geared toward financial competency. I suggest that you discuss your situation with your physician. If he agrees you are capable of managing money, you can ask him to complete an SSA-787, which you can find online. You might also look at Social Security’s return-to-work incentives in the Red Book available at http://www.ssa.gov. If you are still disabled, that is, have not recovered so much that you should report recovery and have your benefits stopped, the work incentives could be helpful for your transiting off disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Edith Stanton

    I have been receiving SSD for 2 1/2 years & my sister is my payee can I become my own payee or does my sister have to sign anything or do anything please let me know

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Edith,

      You can apply to be your own payee. If your sister supports you doing so, she could make a statement. You can also have your physician complete an SSA-787 to support your request. The form is available online. If you are receiving benefits due to a mental health issue, you might consider whether being able to handle your own funds means you are also able to work. If you feel you can handle your money, but can’t work, discuss this with your physician to see if he or she will include that opinion in the SSA-787 statement.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Edith Stanton

        Oh ok thank you very much for your answer

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Edith.

  • Brianna

    My mother passed away when I was 13 my representative payee switched from my dad to my grandmother . I turned 18 on the 28th of September and havent received my social security money yet. I was just curious as to how long she has to give it to me. Is there a time limit? Or can she just give it to me whenever she decides? Or is she allowed to keep it?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brianna,

      Your grandmother is supposed to use your benefits for your support: food, housing, school supplies, transportation, medical and dental care, toilet articles, haircuts,clothing etc. If any is left over, she should give you an allowance. Dependent benefits stop when you turn age eighteen unless you are still in high school in which case they continue to age nineteen or to when you stop school, whichever is first. If you are not still in high school, your grandmother would have received your last benefit in September. (You would have to be disabled to have the benefits continue.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michael

    My mother was my father’s payee but she has since passed away and I moved my father in with me and established myself as payee. My father has lived with me for about 8 months now. He has family members that live in another state and he wishes to move to the other state but on his own. He wants to live on his own. My concern is this: If he does in fact want to move should I remove myself as payee? He is on disability due to a head injury and has memory problems. I’ve told him many times he cannot live on his own, etc. He is adamant about moving and living on his own. Since he’s an adult I feel I have no legal right to prevent him from doing so.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      Before your father moves to another state, I suggest that you discuss with the family members there whether one of them is willing to be payee for your father and look out for him to see if he is doing okay alone. The fact that he has a payee is an indication that he may not be able to live successfully on his own; however, if he lives very near to the relatives, it might help.

      Another idea would be to ask him to have a cognitive evaluation of his memory so that a doctor can judge whether his memory is sufficiently impaired that he would not be safe living alone. If so, the doctor can tell him; and if not, your worry will be lessened.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michael

    I have a few questions about how the money can be spent. I was under 18 when my mother passed away. I received a sum of SS money every month until I turned 18. My father was my representative. Does he have 100% control over that money or does he have to release what is left to me when I become an adult? Also before I turn 18 can he spend that on what he wants to? Even though he also received his own life insurance check and had a well paying job?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      While your father is your payee, he must spend your benefits for you or save the money for you. Of course, he can use part of it to pay housing and food expenses. Other appropriate uses are school supplies and activities; your medical and dental care; your transportation; which might be some money into the family gas tank to take you places; your clothing and personal hygiene costs; etc.; and, if there is enough money, a reasonable allowance. Once you turn eighteen, he should transfer any saved benefits to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Thank you for your response, Kay. This is a problem for many Rep Payees. I am not obligated to pay his credit card debts (I am NOT his legal guardian) if he does not have the money to pay them but this becomes one giant legal problem for him if they are not paid. I was hoping that there was some “magic” SSA law, rule, policy, or something that I could use to convince them to stop increasing his credit limit.

    I will have to do something quickly!

    Again, thanks for response.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear IslandMs,

      No magical SSA law that I know of other than that you are to pay for his current needs first, including saving up for needs that cannot be purchased all out of one month’s benefits before using the money to pay debts.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kay Derochie

    Dear Islandms,

    I cannot change the name you posted with your question, so I am deleting the question. Here is my response: As representative payee, your responsibility is to pay for your son’s essential current needs first (shelter, food, clothing, medical and dental care, hygiene items, etc.) before paying on any debts.

    The larger picture is that you need legal advice on how to handle the credit card companies and accounts. Hopefully, an attorney will have a solution.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Kenneth

    To whom it may concern

    My uncle is on SSI but I think my mother his sister went and had him declared mentally incompetent and then took his money and left him with me how can I find out if she did that

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kenneth,

      I suggest that you take your uncle to your local Social Security office and help him inquire about the status of his benefits, saying that he is not getting them. If he is told that he has a payee and money is being paid to the payee, then file an application to be your uncle’s payee based on the fact that he lives with you. Your uncle will need his Social Security number for his records to be accessed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Can I come by myself or I have to have someone with me change my check over to me please let me know when you get this message.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Nancy,

          I am not sure what you are asking, but I think you are talking about changing from having a representative payee to receiving your benefits directly. My response is based on that understanding. You can go to Social Security by yourself to apply to be your own payee. If your current payee agrees that it would be a good idea for you to receive benefits directly, he or she could go with you to suport your application or write a supporting statement on your behalf.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Sandy Lee Martini

            I have a question,
            My aunt is on SSI,
            I have to have a
            Payee for my SSI,
            can She be my Payee ? And can i live with her and pay 1/2 the bills and buy my own Food she is Diabetic?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sandy,

              Yes, if your aunt receives her own benefits, she can be your payee. If you live with her an pay have the shelter costs and buy you own food, your SSI and her SSI will not be affected by your living together.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • joey

            My question is I am disabled and my childs payee. She moved to another state to live with her father. I told him to get himself put as payee but didn’t it’s just easier for me to pay him for all her expenses. I give him all the money each month unless I buy her things she needs. None of the money is kept for myself all goes for her to be taken care of is this ok?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Joey,

              You have no way of knowing how the money is spent once you transfer it to your child’s father so you can’t really account for it when asked to. Accordingly, it would be better if her father applies to be payee and is accountable to the Social Security Administration.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • CW for KK

    KK has a payee for her SSA & SSI she has requested a copy of Actual Bank Statements for the last 4/5 months.. showing her account was set up as an Individual Account,not grouped with thier other clients…that no fees to have this account was a verbal agreement with the payee..As I was there the day she signed up with them.
    They are now refusing to give her copies of her bank statements and the excel sheet they gave her ..show bank fees.. They have paid all her bills late since she started with them and the amount she thinks she should have and what they claim is about 40.00 or so dollars off..
    What can she do?? She has transferred to another payee starting this next month BUT they still owe her the money and the respect of proof of her account…He stated (the payee) I don’t have to give you anything and this is all I will give you.. How is she to prove anything with out the bank statements..and get the money owed her?Also the first month they wrote a check to me to make her payments as they said they didn’t have time to pay her bills on time. I was her former payee but due to health reasons I have tried to help her get a new on that is stable.. What an awful problem for people that need help..
    Please advise what we can do to help her.. Thank you..

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear CW,

      You and KK can report everything you explained to me to the Social Security Administration (SSA)and ask them to get proofs from the former payee of use of funds, including the Excel spreadsheet and copies of the bank account statements. If there has been misuse, SSA will try to recoup the money from the former payee and pay it out to the current payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • anonymous

    I am under 18 and my mom passed away 4 years ago so i get SSI. My representative payee has not giving my SSI checks to me and is using them for their own benefit but has not reported it so he can continue to get MY money. He was even sent a letter saying since he has failed to report how my money has been used; I saw this letter and it said he had 15 days to go and meet at the office but he failed to do so. What penalties will he face and what should I do? Everytime I bring it up he lies.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anonymous,

      Your payee should be using your Social Security survivor benefits to pay for your housing, food, clothing, medical and dental care, haircuts and toiletries, school supplies and school activities, and transportation as needed. If there is money left over, he should give you an allowance appropriate to your age. If additional money is left over, it should be saved for your future needs or post-high school education or job training. If these things are not being covered, you can go to the Social Security Administration and ask to have your payee changed to another adult who you think will be more responsible.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tom

        I live in Ohio and I am wanting to move to Arizona am I able to do so if my payee stays in ohio

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Tom,

          You will need to either get a payee in Arizona or provide some documentation that you are capable of receiving your own benefits. You might discuss the issue with your physician and if he or she agrees you are capable, the doctor could complete a form SSA-787, which is available online, to support your application to be your own payee.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Alec

    I’m 21 years old and at 16 my mother got me diagnosed with aspergers, then at 18 I started getting my SSI but I couldn’t get it myself because my mother then took me to court and got me classified as mentally incompetent. Then at 20 she took me to court again and made it so where she has guardianship over me along with me not being fit to take care of myself. I have no control over anything I do. My mother takes out all the money I get for the SSI other than a hundred dollars for myself and she keeps the rest calling it rent money. I also have a food stamps card but I can’t use that either because she has control over it. Is there any way I can get to be my own person where she can’t dictate over anything I do or have? PLEASE HELP!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alec,

      I would say that you need to consult with an attorney for legal advice. Some cities have free legal clinics that could perhaps help.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lisa

    I need advice. I am the rep payee for my fiance. I have been paying for the majority of his needs via my own accounts. The reason for this is because I do not want a debit card or checks around since he is very impulsive. I have not collected any funds for the costs I incur on his behalf. I want to start separating out his individual costs to understand better what his actual needs add up to monthly and what can and can not be considered. I just purchased a house in my name only since his credit was not high enough. Is it ok to have him share household expenses such as utilities, cable, furniture, rent? Most of our expenses are shared expenses including our child, cell phone, food, entertainment, etc. and the prior mentioned. I just need advice on how best be his Rep Payee while being able to afford supporting my family and making sure I am abiding by the rules.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      You are supposed to keep your fiance’s benefits separate from your money. This can be done by setting up a bank account to receive the benefits. The title of the account should be “your fiance’s name by your name, representative payee.” That shows that your fiance owns the money, but you are the only one who can access it. For the bank to open the account, you will need the letter that appointed you as payee or another letter from Social Security showing you are payee. Then all your finance’s expenses should be paid from that account. You can have him contribute his share of expenses by withdrawing cash from the account for his share. (Note that if he is receiving Supplemental Security Income [SSI], his share is one-third because there are three in the household.) I recommend keeping a simple ledger showing all expenditures made for him, though you could show the contribution to household expenses and food as a single monthly disbursement.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kristina

    Thank you, Kay! Your advice is much appreciated!

    Kind regards,
    Kristina

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Kristina.

  • Kristina

    Hello Kay:

    I have a sister who has been receiving disability SSI for many years. My mom has been her representative payee, but she is now 70 years old and my sister thinks she is a bit overwhelmed as she also has a disabled husband and daughter to care for (in addition to her duties as my sister’s representative payee). I have offered to be her representative payee, but my sister lives in California, and I reside in Oregon. Is it legal for the representative payee to live out of state? I couldn’t find any rule that covered this specific question. Thanks so much for your help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kristina,

      Usually a payee has to be in physical proximity to the person whose benefits she is managing. To be selected payee for your sister, you would have to convince Social Security that you could take care of your sister’s needs from a distance. In addition to paying her rent and utilities directly, you would have to have a strategy for knowing what her needs are. Can you buy her a gift card to a grocery store? Buy bus passes or ticket? How would you set up making co-pays for medical appointments etc. Would you send her spending money weekly? How often could you visit to see that she was doing okay? If you can work out a plan, possibly you could be made payee. You would also want a letter from your sister that says that she wants you to become her payee and why.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • George

    I got a letter from SSDI office asking me to provide a payee, what does that implies ? does it mean i have been awarded or have been approved ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear George,

      Yes, the request to recommend a person to serve as your payee means that your have been found disabled accordingly to Social Security law and are medically eligible for benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kevin Agudelo

    I recently found out that my mother has been receiving SSI from my dad. He is retired and divorced with her. My mom use the money for things that have nothing to do with me and never spends it on me. I am 16 and I ‘m a junior in high school. I will be 17 next month. I live in Texas and I’m considered and Adult in Law. By the time I am 18, I will be out of high school, so my mom wont receive any more money. What should I Do? Is there a way that I could be my own payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kevin,

      I suggest that you talk with your mother and find out whether she is using some or all of the money for housing and food for you and/or medical and dental bills for you. Does she give you an allowance or spending money? Buy clothing for you? Pay for school supplies and/or school activity fees? Buy gas to take you places or buy you bus tickets? If she does these things, she may be spending all the money on you. If after you talk with your mother, you think the money is being misused, you can discuss the matter with the Social Security Administration. If you are made your own payee, be prepared to pay room and board to your mother.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kevin Agudelo

        My mom said she uses the money for my Step-dads medical bills. And for the housing. Sometimes she gives me money for school activities. But I have no allowance and no spending money. She wants me to get a job for that. Which I do. But I don’t earn enough. Also, she has a part time job and uses the money my benefits for everything. She complains about how she has no money but she buys brand new TVs and buys new smart phones to my little brother while I have a pre-paid phone of that was worth $20. Also, in 2008/2009 the benefits started and she got a $13,000 check. I found out that she used that money for a trip to Honduras. I didn’t want to go but I had to. I asked her how much money saved for college. And she said about 2,000 even with my half-brother and half-sister. I’m my dad’s only child. Could I be my own payee?

        • Kevin Agudelo

          She gets about 650 to 700 per month since 2008. I have papers to prove it. My dad send them to me online from Colombia. I also have 2 little half brothers and 1 little half sister. My mother uses the money for my brothers and my step-dad. Which i don’t mind. But she should use it on me too not just for their entertainment(phones, TVs). I wanted to know if i could be my own payee at 17. My birthday is June 25th and I would like to start collecting the money. By Law, I am considered an adult. Which means if I commit a big felony, I will go to adult people prison. This is by Law. But by Government which is Social Security etc. I’m not sure. In Texas, I’m allowed to move out of my home at 17 legally. Since, I could do that, can I become my own payee? I’m trying to specific.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Kevin,

            Please see my response of a moment ago to your prior question. If you move out of your mother’s home, you might have a greater likelihood of being your own payee, though Social Security law considers you a minor to age eighteen. Also keep in mind that $650 to $700 doesn’t go far when having to pay for housing, utilities, food, transportation, and everything else you would have to pay for if you live on your own.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kevin,

          Your mother should not be using your money to pay your stepfather’s medical bills. Some of that money should be given to you for spending money and to buy a few things you would like to have; the bulk should be saved for college or trade school. I suggest that you apply to be your own payee based on misuse of funds. Otherwise, get another adult to be your payee, possibly a brother or sister of your father.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Kevin Agudelo

            I don’t think that’s possible. My Dad’s family lives in Colombia. So I cant apply to be my own payee at 17 in Texas? Also, what if I would like to save that money for personal needs like a car? I convinced my mom to let me receive some of my money but she wouldn’t she kept saying its her money basically. I also made a deal with her. She could keep all the money but at least buy me a car. She wouldn’t do that either. What do I have to do to qualify to be my own payee?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Kevin,

              Go to Social Security and formally apply to be your own payee. Give Social Security all the same information you have given me in your various posts on this site. You will get a formal determination.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Kevin Agudelo

            What is the possibility that i could be my own payee? Also, I don’t if this is important information but I recently quit my job because i wasn’t earning enough money for anything but food. I would work 1-2 days a week when I asked for more and earning 30-80 dollars a week. I don’t know if this could effect me being my own payee but my benefits could really help in getting me useful things that I need. And could I tell SS and apply through phone? And I don’t want to make it a big deal, I just want to become my own payee and stop my mother from using my money. Is it possible that i could go to court against my mother? She would hate it.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Kevin,

              You could apply to be your own payee by phone, but it would be better to go into the office. Explain that your mother is using some of your benefits for herself. Mention the things that are not being paid for you and what you would use the money for it if it were paid directly to you.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Kevin Agudelo

            Okay. One last thing. I turn 17 this Thursday. So I’ll be going then to the SS administration. What do I have to bring? Do I bring my SS? My fathers SS? What about my papers that he sent me online that prove that I receive benefits? As the worst part, do I bring my mother?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Kevin,

              Take your and your father’s Social Security numbers. You could also take the papers your father sent you. You do not have to take your mother.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Kevin Agudelo

            I receive the benefits the beginning of every month. Most likely the first. Will I get them by the 1st of July? Or does it take time? Sorry for asking many question. I just want to be prepared. I’m afraid my mom will continue to get my benefits.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Kevin,

              You Social Security benefit is likely paid on the 3rd of the month. If you are made your own payee, it is unlikely the change will occur in time for the July payment.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Kevin Agudelo

            How long would it take to get the money in my name? The SS administration website said they will take action to recover the misued money.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Kevin,

              Given that the website has been updated as it has, I would expect that the next monthly benefits due would be paid in your name. The back money will not be released to you until it is collected from the person who misused the benefits, so how long it takes will depend on how fast the payee makes restitution.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Delmarquis

    i am 17 and my mom gets my money but i have NOT been staying with her for the past 4 months what can i do

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Delmarquis,

      I need more information to respond. With whom are you living and what is your relationship with that person? Is the person a minor or adult? Are you receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because you are disabled or Social Security dependent or survivor benefits? If you are receiving SSI, what is your disabling condition?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rogina

    Also, I meant to ask, I have been reading a lot on the subject but unable to find the answers I’m looking for, but during all this reading, I have read numerous times, that as his spouse, caring for his minor children, that I too am eligible to draw his benefits. Is this true? And if so, how do I go about getting the process started? Thanks again and sorry about the multiple posts.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rogina,

      You can file an application for young wife’s benefits if you have your husband’s children or step-children under age sixteen in your care. If you are not working or are not earning so much that no benefits are payable, the total dependent benefits payable to the family would then be split among the two children and you. I don’t know your age, but if you are under age forty-three being entitled to benefits could protect your rights to disabled widow’s benefits should your husband pass away and should you become disabled more than seven years after his death. The current earnings limit is $15,720. For every two dollars over that amount, your total yearly benefit would be reduced by one dollar.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Rogina

        Thank you south for your reply. I am aged 41 and my current earnings per year are approximately 16,300…give or take. If I file for young wife’s benefits because I do have one of his children living in the household with us, will my earrings be counted against those benefits? Or will that only be in the event that he passes away and I claim widows benefits. I’m sorry, this is all so confusing for me. My husband’s monthly benefit is right around $1850, each child gets $499 a month, so the maximum each of the 2 remaining child will receive is $925, if I don’t file for benefits as a spouse caring for his minor daughter? Thanks again in advance for any additional information you can help me with.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Regina,

          Yes, the child has to be your care, which means living with you. If you apply, the children’s benefits will go down because the $950 dependent benefits will be split three ways. With $16,300 earnings, you would get full benefits for all months except December, when your benefits would be reduced by $290 because of your excess earnings ($16,300 – $15,420 = $580 / 2 = $290). The total amount the children (and you, if you apply) will get is the difference between your husband’s benefit before reduction for Medicare premiums or taxes and the Family Maximum Benefit. That amount will be divided among the eligible dependents. Your husband can find out the Family Maximum Benefit by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. If your husband were to die, the situation is the same in terms of the eligible survivors splitting survivor benefits equally, but the amounts would different. The percentage of your husband”s $1,850 that you would receive would depend on the age you became eligible as a widow if you were applying simply as an aged or disabled widow and not a widow with a child in your care. If you were receiving benefits based on age or a child in care, your work earnings would have the same effect on benefits. (If you were earning $16,300, you would not be considered disabled so disabled widow’s benefits would not apply.)

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Rogina

    My husband is disabled and between the 2 of us there are 4 children drawing off of his benefits. My 1st question is…2 of the children (twins) turned 19 on 3/27/15 and are both still in high school. I understand that they will receive payments for 2 months after their 19th birthday, but I don’t know what month they will receive their final check. March benefits were paid on April 3 and April benefits will be paid on May 3…so since they were 19 for part of the month of March will their last check be for May payable on June 3 or did March not count and their last check be payable for June on July 3?

    My second question is…what happens to their benefits? Does it get split evenly between the 2 remaining children or does it just go away?

    Thank you in advance for any information you can give me.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rogina,

      I believe that your twins’ eligibility ended with their benefits for February, paid in March, because benefits based on student status extend only to the month before attainment of age nineteen. Their benefits will be split between the two younger children; however the maximum each child can receive is half of what their father receives. It may be that processing of the change was delayed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Amanda

    I’ve been on disability since 2009 in I believe it was 2012 I was having a hard time keeping up with bills and I was really struggling so I decided to go with a rep payee for a little while things were fine then little by little my check was later and later now I have to call and leave several messages (for no reason they NEVER call me back) and repeatedly call them to get through to someone for them to send my check it was meant to get my rent paid on time and instead I have to borrow money to pay rent until my check arrives because they are worse at paying than I was my rep payee is family services association out of fall river wondering if anyone else has this problem with them? I have no transportation and I live miles from the social security office so I’m stuck right now

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amanda,

      I suggest that you call contact the family services association and ask to speak to a supervisor or manager. Explain that the service is not paying your rent on time or getting the balance of the benefits to you in a timely fashion. If the situation is not corrected, perhaps you can find another payee. If that is not possible, complete an application to be your own payee by completing SSA-11 form and mailing it to your servicing Social Security. Social Security’s call center at 1-800-772-1213 can give you the office address and you can get the form by going to http://www.ssa.gov and searching the site for SSA-11. On the application, explain your reasons for applying to receive your own check as you explained them to me.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • anita frazier

    Hi my name is Anita & I have a problem I was turned away today by an apartment complex because I didn’t have an award letter from social security Regarding my son’s money I told the woman that I wasn’t over my sons money so idk but I also had another paper that had his monthly benefits amount on it idk what should I do my lease is up this month and idk what to do? is that any type of discrimination what she did towards me because I simply told her that I wasn’t his payee help me

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anita,

      Usually renters have to prove income or assets with which they can pay rent. Because do not have control over your son’s benefits, his payee’s name might have to be on the rental agreement for the money to be considered available to pay the rent. I suggest that you check with the government agency in your county or state that oversees rental practices for an answer to your question about discrimination.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mitchell

    Kay, my mother is currently in the hospital (mental) she receives social security retirement. I was paying her rent and so forth from her bank account when I noticed she didn’t get her April deposit. So I went on mysocialsecurity.gov website and logged in and noticed that the hospital she’s currently in is getting her deposits now, saying they are rep payee? Is this legal, considering she has a home that needs to be paid once she is feeling better and can get back on her feet? I cannot afford her bills as well as mine. I don’t want her to lose everything that she has worked hard for all of her life. thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mitchell,

      My response is based on your statement that your mother is receiving Social Security retirement, not Supplemental Security Income for aged individuals. I suggest that you contact the Social Security Administration and discuss the matter with them. If your mother is in a hospital and not some type of residential care facility, you may be able to apply to be payee and pay to maintain her home during a temporary absence. If she is in a care facility versus a hospital, then the issue may be different because of how care is funded and rules about temporary absence. If needed, get legal advice.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sarah Green

    If i appeal to become my own rep payee and win how long could it possibly take for SSI to reevaluate my case and decide i am no longer qualified for financial benefits??.. And if that does happen could this process take days, weeks or months from start to finish??

    I had one rep payee take advantage of people’s money and they were shut down and the one i am using now is fine but i just sometimes wonder if i wouldn’t be better off on my own??.. Also it would ease that $40 monthly payment i can hardly afford to pay to use them!!..

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sarah,

      Your claim may or may not be reviewed if you request to be your own payee. Some people with mental illness are capable of using their benefits to pay for their basic needs of food, shelter, medical care, personal hygiene items, etc. before less essential things and still are not able to hold down a job. I suggest that you discuss your condition and situation with your mental health care provider to see whether he or she thinks you are capable of handling your money but are still disabled. If so, he or she would make a statement on both points on a capability form, SSA-787, which you can get by searching on the Internet.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • jennifer

    I am the payee for my 18 year old son with a disability and i sent a lease agreement stating he pays rent of $450.00 a month and his check is only $488.00 month, why can’t he get the maximum? Is it because I said the rent includes his shelter and food.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      If the fair market value (FMV) for room and board (housing and food) in your geographic area is more than the $450 your son is paying, the difference between the FMV and what he is paying is in-kind (non-cash) income. You can figure the fair market value by looking at ads for room rentals in your area. (You can submit copies of room rental ads as proof of FMV.) The current maximum food stamp allotment for one person can serve as proof of the FMV of the food your son receives. If when these two FMV figures are added together they equal or exceed $265, your son’s payment of $488 is the correct amount. If they come to less, he is eligible for some increase, which will take effect two months after he began to pay $450 for room and board.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rachel

    Hello, I have been drawing SSDI since July of 2004 because of severe mental illness. I have no argument with the fact that I need a rep. payee. However, I have an odd situation and haven’t seen anyone else ask you this question.

    In the end of November, I was in a vulnerable state and took out a car loan that was WAY beyond my means. It was from one of those dealerships that focuses on people with poor credit. My first payment was January 3rd and I haven’t been able to make a payment since then.

    Here is my question: As part of my proof of income, I provided the dealership with my benefits letter that clearly shows my rep. payee’s name, with my name as beneficiary. The dealership accepted this as proof of my income. But really, I don’t see that money. It all goes to other bills. Since I’m not considered capable enough to even buy my own groceries and medication, is it legal for them to accept my benefits letter as proof of income? It’s technically in my payee’s name, and she never told them it was OK for me to take out the loan. I’m looking at a voluntary repossession but if the loan was improper I’m hoping they can’t hold me accountable for any remaining deficiency after they sell the car.

    I hope this makes sense. I called SSDI about it and the person I talked to said they didn’t have a rule about this but I didn’t ask to speak to a supervisor, I just took her at her word. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rachel,

      Turning back the car as soon as possible seems an appropriate action. I doubt your payee is not legally responsible for the loan, but I am not an attorney. Additionally, Social Security rules are that your payee pay for your shelter, food, medical and dental care, and other current needs before paying for any debts so if there is no money for the car payment after current needs are met, she is complying with the law by not making the car payment.

      Social Security cannot intervene on your behalf with regard to the debt if any. If you are asked to pay some amount related to the repossession, you may need to seek legal counsel to assist you. If the matter goes to court, you can explain to the judge that you were in an acute state of mental illness at the time and also explain what you told me, that the proof of income you provided showed that you were not capable of managing your income and didn’t have direct access to it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Vickie

        Our two grandchildren’s’ father passed away in 2013. Since then they have lived with us along with their mother, who is our daughter. Our daughter and the children’s father were not married. She is the payee for the SSI survivor benefits. She gives us a small amount each month toward groceries. She does not work and spends 90% of the benefits on going out and drinking and who knows what. She is an alcoholic.
        Both my husband and I work, we make sure the kids are taken care of. I’ve asked her to let me be the payee she refuses.
        What can we do? Thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Vicki,

          You can go to the Social Security Administration and apply to be payee for your grandchildren’s Social Security dependent benefits (they are not getting SSI). Explain the situation and that you want the children to have use of the money for clothing, school supplies, medical and dental co-pays, to cover extra utilities from having the children in the household, and to save for their future needs when they are older, even for college or job training after they are out of school.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Judy

    My sister is my payee. She is a Jehovah witness. Everything is by the book to the dot. She pays all my bills alright after all that I have $ 280.00 left over each month. She writes me a check for $ 70.00 a week. This is to buy groceries and spending money. She ask me to bring her a receipt for everything I buy. I have to save receipts each month. She tells me that Social Security says that she has to keep all receipts for what I spend. I don’t feel I have any privacy. Isn’t the check written out to me enough receipt for Social Security records when she does it once a year. I feel like a little kid. She tells me its not her fault social security wants receipts. I just think I should have a little privacy. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Judy,

      Check with the Social Security Administration, but I think that it is not necessary for your sister to provide receipts for the money you spend directly for food and personal items.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Joshua Mawhiney

    Hello, I get social security disability and my pay stopped paying me my weekly checks even though my bills haven’t really changed in the last 3 and a half years. So I asked for an accounting of the money and they said no. So I asked if I could at least have an accounting of the point my account went into a deficit and they said nope. So I got a new payee but I don’t know what they plan on doing with the rest of the money. Or if they just plan on keeping it. What can I do legally to not get taken advantage of?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joshua,

      Please clarify your question for me. Who are you referring to when you say “I don’t know what they plan on doing with the rest of the money”? Also, while you were receiving weekly checks from your former payee, were they also paying your rent and utilities or did you pay those yourself? I will try to respond when I have a bit more information.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Joshua Mawhiney

        Yes they pay the rent, Electricity, insurance, car payment, student loan. And then I’m supposed to get 50 dollars a week. And that’s pretty much how it’s been. But for the last 3 months no more 50 dollar checks. Not a reduced for the weekly checks which is my living expenses. So I was just wondering how that was supposed to work because I want know if they are going to send the money they have left in my account back to social security and then it would go to my new payee.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Joshua,

          Your former payee should be required to make a final account the Social Security Administration (SSA) and return funds he or she has on hand for you to SSA so the money can be re-issued to your current payee.

          I suggest that you and your new payee go to your local Social Security office to find out the status of the final accounting. Explain what you explained to me about the sudden stoppage of money for your daily expenses without explanation and to your knowledge without an increase in the expenses they paid directly. If an accounting and request for refund (which presumably would be about $60 or $650 for the past three months at $50 a week) is not in process, ask Social Security to contact the former payee to request accounting with bank statements for the last four months and refund of unspent or misused funds.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Andrea

    Dear Kay,
    Recently I received my APPROVAL letter after my hearing and it says “It is recommended that a determination be made concerning the appointment of a representative payee who can manage payments in the claimant’s interest.” Does recommended mean required? I want to manage my own payments and in my psychiatrist’s Assesment to Do Work Activities he said I could manage my own funds. I guess my main question is does recommended mean required and if it does, what can I do to change that without extending the calendar on getting these benefits yet again? Thanks so much.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Andrea,

      The recommendation is usually followed unless there is a supported objection. You can object by taking a copy of your psychiatrist report to the local Social Security office and making a written request for benefits be paid directly to you based on your attending physician’s greater knowledge of your condition.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Andrea

        Thank you Kay,
        One additional question. Should I do that as soon as possible or should I wait until I get my award letter? I only have my approval letter at this point.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Andrea,

          You can apply to be your own payee now. The award letter will come after a payee has been selected and payment has been made.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Andrea

            Hi again Kay,
            Trying to get confirmation from my disability lawyer that I should do this but he’s not answering my emails. Do you think he’s already been payed and doesn’t want to deal with me anymore? When traditionally is the lawyer paid? I got my approval one week ago. Thanks, Andrea

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Andrea,

              It is unlikely that your attorney would be paid that quickly. Most attorneys consider their job done when they get you the approval. Their time is very valuable monetarily and they don’t usually help with representative payee issues or other details of payment.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Tianna Allene Coleman

    Hi I’m 17 years old. So technically I’m underage so I can not be my own payee. BUT what if my payee (which is my aunt the woman I live with) is not using my ssi check for my own personal needs. But those of her husband’s needs,her childdrens needs, and they’re specific we ants. Now I’m not saying she doesn’t always provide my needs. She gives me everything I need…. Occasionally. But she also uses it irresponsibly to everyone else’s needs & wants. If I’m mistaken tell me… But I’m pretty certain that,that ssi check I get is to help take care of my needs. Not everyone else’s wants…. Right??? And If I’m not mistaken do I have a good enough reason and statements to maybe become my own payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tianna,

      I suggest that you ask your aunt to go over how your funds are spent. Find out how much your benefit is, how much goes for food, rent or mortgage, and utilities, and how much goes for your clothing, haircuts, gasoline to take you places, school supplies, and all the things she provides that are personal to you. If you find that the amount being spent for you is less than your benefit, you can ask if the balance is being saved for you for higher education or job training. The conversation may reveal that your money is not being spent for other people. If after the conversation, you are satisfied that part of your benefits are being spent for someone else, you can go to the Social Security Administration and report it and/or apply to be your own payee given that you are close to age eighteen. However, if you become your own payee, you will be responsible for paying your aunt for your shelter and food.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • jenay

    I also pay all life insurance policies and maintain car insurance for the vehicle we use for transportation

  • jenay

    Hi. I recently became my mother’s rep payee. we live together and I take care of her. I am also her poa. Recently we moved and a little while after the move, I was fired, so my only income is unemployment. Both of our names are on the lease but she has been paying the rent, while I cover the cable since it’s in my name and she covers the consumers and groceries. My question is, since I have to report her income, will there be an issue with her solely paying the rent? . Groceries and consumers. That was the agreement we had set up. So just needing to know so if need be adjustments can be made.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jenay,

      Please give me a bit more information so that I can respond. Does your mother receive Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • jenay

        Social Security benefits

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jenay,

          You have to show is that your mother’s money is being spent for her. Accordingly, I suggest that you change the arrangement so that you are paying half the rent and basic shelter utilities and food if your unemployment goes that far and also split whatever else you share as far as your and your mother’s money allows you to pay equal shares and still allows you to use your mother’s money to pay for her clothing, personal care items, medical and dental care, haircuts, etc.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • spring

    my question is my mom is on ssdi ( she handles her own funds) but when my gram was no longer able to handle her own accounts before she went into the nursing home and my mom was first on power of attorny and im second if something should happen to my mom this was almost 3 years ago and now that my grandfather is now in the nursing home aswell ( we sold there prooerty and put into accounts for my grandfather and my grandmother) so my mom was working on being a his payee so when she talked to a representivie on wed they informed her where her name is on the accounts to manage there money and she recives ssdi benifits it counts as her income as well and since when she set up my grandmothers and NO ONE EVERY said that it would count against her 3 years ago they are retroactivating it back to than and count the last 3 years againts my mom. Witch im sorry but i think thats a wrong and b there fault for not telling her my question is what is a child to do let her parents finacial business go out the window because it counts againts her and now she will have to pay her benifits back and loose ssdi because the state of maine a doesnt train there employees very well and b doesnt put this info on the form when you apply. so she is doing a appeal but is there any advice on what to do we both doccument what we spend on the parents rest goes into savings for them
    HELP OUT ADVICE
    spring
    thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Spring,

      First of all, if your mother gets SSDI (Social Security Disability), how the accounts are set up makes no difference. Her assets don’t affect SSDI benefits. Your post, however, seems to indicate that your mother is actually getting SSI (Supplemental Security Income).

      If your mother receives SSI, then the following is the situation: If the account with your grandparents’ money in it is in your grandparents’ names and your mother is listed by the bank only as having power of attorney, the money is not legally your mother’s and should not be countable for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The same is true if your mother is representative payee for your grandparents’ Social Security benefits and has set up their accounts with the title “grandparent’s name by mother’s name, representative payee.) If on the other hand, she just put her name on the accounts along with her parents name, legally she owns the money.

      She can take either or both of the following action. If the accounts show that she is not the legal owner of the accounts, she can file an appeal and present bank statements or papers from the original set up of the account that show she is on the accounts only with power of attorney or as representative payee. If she doesn’t appeal or loses an appeal, she can apply for waiver of overpayment collection, claiming that the overpayment is not her fault, collection would be unfair because she did not use the money for herself and had access to the accounts only to assist her parents, and that she cannot afford to repay.

      If appeal and waiver of repayment are denied, she can request collection as partial withholding from future benefits. (If the accounts now have her listed as account owner, she needs to change the accounts to show power of attorney or representative payee only.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • rachel barrow

    Dear Kay, i was scamed! Iam my daughters representative payee and even
    Though i have a different savings account from my daughters the bank still
    took her disibility check as payment on a fraudulent money order! Help! What
    Can i do? Can thd bank do this?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rachel,

      IF you set up your daughter’s savings account with the correct title, “your daughter’s name by your name, representative payee, I wouldn’t think the bank could take money from your daughter’s account because the money does not belong to you and the title of the account would show that. If the account is set up incorrectly so that you are an owner of the account, the situation is more complicated. Either way, you may need legal assistance or assistance from the Social Security Administration to get this straightened out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • heather rollins

    My brother was diagnosed at age 18 with a metal illness…However our family didn’t know he was eligible for SSDI till he was age 31..in between he worked minimum wage jobs and my parents covered all oh his short falls..rent and other bills…Now both of my parents have passed away..and I was told he could be eligible for survivor-ship benefits… When I called they were quick to say no because he didn’t start to collect benefits till the age of 31…not the required age of 22..However how i read the guidelines it says children are eligible if they are diagnosed before the age of 22..What he receives barley covers his rent-therefore I become the responsible one now…Any suggestions?…My parents both contributed a ton of money to SS..And unfortunately they didn’t collect on it very long…If he isn’t eligible for survivor-ship benefits is there anything else I could look into?…I truly appreciate this site and your time to answer!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heather,

      If your brother has never performed substantial gainful activity (SGA), he can apply for disabled adult child benefits on his parents’ earnings records. To do so successfully, he would need to gather and submit records showing that he was continuously disabled since before age eighteen. A person can be found disabled even if working or having worked if the work is or was not Substantial Gainful Acitivity. If he has a history of performing substantial work for more than six months or more, then in all likelihood he would have to claim disability beginning when he last stopped performing SGA. Below is a list of amounts of gross earnings per month that generally mean substantial work. If he does not qualify for disabled adult child benefits, he could apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) on his own earnings record and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a needs-based disability program for individuals with limited income and assets. Both are administered by the Social Security Administration. If he is currently earning $1,090 or more, he probably is not eligible; however, I can’t say for certain because I would need to know his pattern of being on and off work before that and the amount of his earnings.

      Substantial Gainful Activity
      In calendar year 2015, $1070
      In calendar year 2014, $1070
      In calendar year 2013, $1040
      In calendar year 2012, $1010
      In calendar year 2011, $1000
      In calendar year 2010, $1000
      In calendar year 2009, $980
      In calendar year 2008, $940
      In calendar year 2007, $900
      In calendar year 2006, $860
      In calendar year 2005, $830
      In calendar year 2004, $810
      In calendar year 2003, $800
      In calendar year 2002, $780

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jane

    My mom receives social security benefits. My dad and her are very capable to handle their own money, however, when they need help to understand their benefits, they aren’t able to fully understand it without a translator as they speak very little English. When I call the social security office to obtain information about her benefits to translate for her, they won’t give me the information. I understand why but is there a form or something my mom can fill out that allows me information about her benefits without me having to be her rep payee so if I was to call and ask about her benefits that information can be given to me without her having to each time give the premission to the social security rep before they can tell me?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jane,

      I am not aware of a way that you can be put on record as your parents’ translator, but you can inquire. Otherwise, the parent about whom you are asking will have to give permission each time.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • shenika

        I just found out i was my mom payee but my mom is my little sister payee what those that mean??

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Shenika,

          Either your mom is capable of handling benefits or not. Either she should be getting her own benefit payment directly, in addition to receiving your sister’s, or both your mother’s and your sister’s benefits should come to you to manage.

          If you think you mother is capable of reliably paying for basic needs, especially housing, utilities, food, hygiene items, and medical care before discretionary spending, you can suggest to your mother that she talk with her physician to have the doctor make a statement regarding her capability on an SSA-787 form, which can be found online. Then she can take it to Social Security and apply to be hr own payee. If you think she is not capable of handling the money, you can apply to be payee for your sister.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Traci

    Hello, I have been my mother’s representative payee for 4 years. However, she doesn’t need a representative payee anymore and hasn’t needed one for several years. She pays all of her own bills and takes care of all her own business. She even has a recent letter from a doctor stating she is completely capable of doing these things. But she won’t go down the SS office to get it done because she doesn’t want to. I’m at my wits end and tired of having to make phone calls for her when anything comes up (because they won’t talk to anyone but the representative payee…me) Is it possible for me to refuse to be her payee anymore, thereby forcing her to go down and take care of this herself? Also, do I have to go with her to get it done?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Traci,

      Yes, you can refuse to be your mother’s payee. Before doing that, you might ask her why she doesn’t want to be her own payee. Also, I suggest that before resigning as payee that you tell your mother that if she does not get the benefits switched over to her name within two months, you will remove yourself as payee and that if she hasn’t set herself up to receive the benefits, she may have an interruption in income.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Donna

    A mother is the representative payee for her 3 minor childrens’ survivor benefits, due to their father being killed. She and the children’s father were never married. Although she receives a substantial amount each month for them, the household bills go unpaid, utilities are behind or have been shut off and the kids appear to be in clothing that is either dirty or too small. Knowing her well, it is obvious to me that she is using these benefits for her own personal needs including, alcohol and drugs for herself and her friends. This mishandling of funds for these three little ones is repulsive. Don’t these “parents” have to account for how they spend this money, or is it only if a complaint about them is received by the social security office? Can a grandparent petition to become their payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Donna,

      The grandparent can and probably should apply to be payee for the children and pay the families rent and utilities directly and buy food for the household, purchase school supplies and take the children shopping for clothes when it is apparent they need them. An application can be filed with the Social Security Administration. Explain why you are applying and that the children’s needs are not being met.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cabrera

    I have a question ?. So when i was young my mom apply for me i got approved to recive ssi but she didnt tell me nothing she was getting the money for ”rent and stuff ” for me but she really wasnt then i went to dcf costidy when i was 16 so they stop the check . Until i was out of dcf wivh was going to be when i was 18 but somehow she did something or talk to the social security ppl and i guess they never stop it the checks . N now that im 18 she made sign a paper suposly to start the procces not knowing that in that paper i was giving her authorization to handle my money . Cause she lie. Now im homeless no money no food basicly living off people now . I reported it now im just waiting but i get all the money she stole back ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cabrera,

      If the Social Security Administration (SSA) can collect the money that should not have been paid to your mother when you were not in her custody, they will reissue the money to you. From what you have written, I am unsure of whether you have been approved for benefits for the current time. If you have, you can apply to have future benefits paid to you.

      One other consideration: depending on your living arrangements and what government entity was paying for your care when you were not with your mother, you may not have been eligible for any or all of the benefits paid to your mother while you were not with her. If that is the case, no benefits will
      be reissued to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • maria

    I am asking this for someone who receives a disability check. They have a payee nuy they want to get the check in their own name,If they go thru the process to change it. Is it possible for them to not get a check at all

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Maria,

      Occasionally, when a person files to be their own payee (receive the check themselves), Social Security will initiate a disability investigation if they think there is reason to believe that the disabled person’s health has improved and he or she is no longer disabled. It is not a common outcome, but it is not impossible. If the person wants to be his own payee, it can be helpful to have his physician complete a statement that he is capable of managing his benefits, but still is unable to work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Keyshia

    Hi I have a cousin who is on ssi due to she has a mind of a kid even though she is in her late 20s and she has been on it since she was born. Anyway she keeps having children that she cannot take care of if I take custody over them will I be able to receive ssi benefits. Thanx in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Keyshia,

      You would be able to get SSI benefits for your cousin’s children only if the children are disabled. You might be able to get financial assistance and food stamps for them by contacting your state or county health and human resources department.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dana

    Hello Kay-
    Here is my situation. I contracted viral meningitis while working for my company in Hong Kong. I was an international consultant for 18 yrs making mid 6+ figures a year. I went from my companies short term disability to my private disability…..My depression, anxiety, as well as cognitive abilities were tested in a battery of tests of over 6 hours, where I was deemed fully disabled via SSA. My pre morbid as they call it condition, and education ( Masters Degree) do not match my post morbid condition nor support me in reconditioning in the job market.

    I was given a rep payee when I was deemed disabled, at age 40.
    i have never had a follow up from SSDI, and have just changed my Rep payee to my husband.

    Herein are my questions- The cognitive issues remain, will remain there for life. The severe depression and anxiety will also remain.
    I have demonstrated that I am able to prioritize my monthly expenses, via my husbands oversight, no issues there. 6 now, can you tell me the following:

    1. Why have i not been re-evaluated – i have been told due to the severity of my loss, expected to last more than 5 yrsw and the fact that i have aq rep-payee that i am a low risk candidate for an evaluation- Is this true?

    2. I know there is an age cut off for rehabilitation to a different job. I am now 46, is there more of a chance of being reassessed, having my disability taken away ?

    I ask these questions, as my husband is 18 years older, we are concerned that if something were to happen to him, I would be in a jam as I have no family or close friends.

    Further, and TRUST me on this, going from 6 figures to 25k a year really makes you reassess your priorities. I am at a loss of polite words to those that state i am maligning.

    Your insights are appreciated- never thought I would face this position in my life. As a closing fyi- I was recently diagnosed with cancer, as if that really helps my overall depression, it has worsened it.

    I just obviously don’t want to risk the loss of my income. Should i wait until I’m a bit older- 50 or 55? is there a cut off date for age where SSA does not look to retrain you?

    Thank you in advance- sorry this was a bit longer than most-

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dana,

      You don’t say how long you have received benefits. More severe conditions can be reviewed in seven years, but not all are reviewed. There is no particular reason to worry about benefits being terminated if your health has remained pretty much the same. I do not know of any specific age at which you would not be eligible for a Social Security Ticket to Work, which can lead to vocational rehabilitation services. If your husband passes away before you, you could apply to be your own payee and at the time demonstrate that you have knowledge of your basic expenses and when they have to be paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Helga Ort

    Hello …I am my 45 year old son’s representative payee due to him having had a stroke. He receives SS … I don’t know what category such things as his truck payment and insurance … storage unit fee … money he owed his sister for having his belongings moved home from Montana where he was living at the time of his stroke … he now lives with me also I give him 200.00 a month spending money from his check… what do i put these expenses under …thank you …Helga

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Helga,

      Itemize the miscellaneous expenses as “other” or put them in the remarks section of the accounting report you are completing or on an attached sheet.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kevin

    Also, That big check of 13, 778 has been used when we went to Honduras. I never knew about my benefits since 2 months ago when I was 16. I really want to move out of this house. And i can legally do so. Everyone is unfair. My parents are liars. I really need my benefits to move out and find and apartment. Is there a way Kay ??????

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kevin,

      Please see my previous two responses. You can apply to be your own payee and you can try to have Social Security collect any misused funds from your mother, though it may not be possible to prove the misuse or, if so, to get the money back.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kevin

        Sorry. So I can apply to be my own payee ? Even if I’m not 18? Can I trust you? By the time ill be 18 the money will stop coming from SS and there will most likely not be any left for my future needs. Shes using, till this day for everything.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kevin,

          Given that in your state you are considered an adult at age seventeen, you may be successful in getting the Social Security put in your name. Also, if you are still a full-time high school student when you turn eighteen, your Social Security dependent benefits could continue until you graduate or turn nineteen, whichever is first.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Kevin

    I live in Texas and I can legally move out because I’m basically considered and adult. I wanted to know if there’s a way for me to get my SS benefits to my bank account rather than my mom’s to benefit myself??????????

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kevin,

      See my response of a few minutes ago to your first post.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kevin

    Hi.Hope you can really help me out with something. I haven’t talked to my father in 10 years or so. I am now 17. I recently started talking to him and he told me that my mom has been receiving my benefits. Before this my mom always says how she has no money. But then she buys big plasma tv and buys my brothers phones and ipods. She never bought something like that to me. She always told me to get a job to get it myself. I have a job now at marshals. Anyways, i talked to my real father because they divorced when i was very little. He said my mom has been receiving money from SS since he is retired and I’m his only son. She started receiving this money since 2008. When she got a big check of 13,778. I have papers to prove it. Then every month she gets 650 and it increases yearly. I thought about it and it was right round the same time she left her job. I confronted my mom and she uses the money for everything. even things that have nothing to do with me. She told me shes not gonna let me have any money. but yet she is buying tvs, movies, phones. And nothing at all for me. Its unfair.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kevin,

      You can report to Social Security what is going on. Some of your benefit should be used for your housing and food costs, but there should be some left over for some of your personal needs of clothing, school supplies,transportation, phone, and entertainment. The $13,000 check could have been saved for your education or future needs. It may be possible to have the check put in your name or another adult’s name so that part of the money can be kept for your personal needs and part used for rent, utilities and food.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Gregg Rodgers

    As a payee representative with the disabled living in household, can I claim the disabled as a dependent under Head of household on my tax return to whereas the disabled benefits don’t fully cover the monthly expenses, As then results to myself paying out of pocket left over expenses for the disabled living costs?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gregg,

      Please contact the Internal Revenue Service or a tax accountant for your tax question.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Carol

    Hi, I am legal guardian to my 9 year old niece, my deceased brothers minor daughter. Her mother passed away 5 years ago and my brother just recently passed away from ALS. My niece will soon be receiving survivor benefits from ssi from my brother. My niece lives with my husband (who is also her legal guardian) and myself and our two children, my question is if I divided by 1/5 all housing, food expenses, and even allowing for her entertainment, etc, it would use just a little more then half her money monthly, if I put remainder in savings account for her, she would quickly go over allowable amount $2,000 to have in savings. If our family is a low income family and we need more then 1/5 to help meet all monthly housing expenses and utilities, am I allowed to use more then 1/5 of her money to pay housing expenses/ living expenses if we are a household of 5? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carol,

      I believe that you may have mixed up Social Security survivor benefits with Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The latter pays benefits to disabled which of low income families. The former is a benefit that was earned by your deceased brother and the benefit does not vary based on living arrangements and who pays what nor does it depend on how much money she has in the bank.

      As representative payee for your niece, you have the responsibility to use her benefit only for her and you will be asked once a year to account for your use of the funds. That said, a primary need of your niece is to have a roof over her head and the utility bills paid. Keep a record of how much of her money goes for shelter and food expenses and how much for other things. Of course, save as much as you can to benefit her when she needs post-secondary education or job training or for future unknown medical needs or dental work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Linda

    Hello,

    My 58 year old sister has been receiving SSI for bipolar disorder and anxiety for many years. She also has a history of drug and alcohol addiction since her teenage years. Last September (2014) she admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital due to becoming psychotic and fearing she might lose her temper and hurt someone. She also stayed long enough to withdraw from a very long klonapin addiction. Her anxiety prevents her from keeping a job for any length of time, nor is she able to live on her own. She has never had a Representative Payee.
    She now lives with my 88 year old mother (who has early stages of dementia), my other sister (age 55) and that sisters 23 year old daughter. My oldest sister has been having an increasingly difficult time adequately managing her finances. She tends to go into a manic episode at the beginning of each month when she gets her benefits and is gone for hours shopping. Because of this, she has now gotten involved with one of those high interest payday advance loan companies. She was short on her January rent and I lent her the cash to make up the difference. I didn’t want her lack of impulse control to jeopardize the home they all pay rent for. Well, she did not pay the rent as she agreed; instead, she spent it on personal luxuries (however, she claims she does not remember that weekend shopping spree). The landlord informed my other sister that he was getting ready to file eviction papers due to non payment. The mentally ill sister was able to get another payday loan in order to pay the rent and stop the eviction process.
    All this to ask: how can we get a representative payee for my sister and do you think her case warrants one?
    Thank you for your time,
    Linda

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Linda,

      Yes, you can apply to be payee for your sister and should do so immediately. The manic shopping symptoms of your sister’s mental condition (including the fact that she doesn’t remember the shopping spree) necessitate a payee. Tell Social Security what you have told me. Also talk to your sister in a matter-of-fact way about the situation to see if she would make a statement to Social Security supporting you to be payee so that the rent and utilities and food get paid before she has spending money.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sheila

    I have three children who were in their grandmothers care temporarily. She is deceased and now the kids are with me. They were receiving ssi because their father is also deceased. I have arranged for me to be the new payee for the children. Does it take 6 months for them to start payments?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sheila,

      Your children are receiving Social Security dependent benefits, not SSI (Supplemental Security Income). The benefits should be switched over to your name no later than the second month after you applied to be payee. If they are not, follow up.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kathy

    My mother in law has her sister as her payee, but I take care of her she wants me to become her payee because she isn’t happy with her sister. she wants new clothes and stuff for her home and some spending money on the weekend after all her bills are paid and she gets her medicine she is a diabetic and she is scared to say something to her sister because her sister keeps telling her if she keeps being hard to handle she will put her in a old person home. how do we go with putting me as her payee. please help. my son also gets ssdi he is under one and I am his payee will it mess with my son’s ssdi if I become her payee??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      I suggest that you and your mother-in-law go to Social Security together. You can apply to be payee and your mother-in-law can make a supporting statemen why she wants you to be payee. However, before you tht, you might want to find out the amount your mother-in-law receives and the amount of basic shelter, food, and medical expenses to find out if there is, in fact, any money left over for clothes and household items.

      Your being payee for your mother-in-law will have no effect on being your son’s payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cheryl

    Hi,
    Hope you can advise. I am mom and representative payee for my minor daughter who receives SSD on her deceased dads SS. She is also disabled. I filled out the required yearly summary. I have done so the last two years. This year after submitting it I just teceived a letter stating I was being removed. I am very upset because I never use that money for anything except her needs, meds, helpers, and her pleasure. I have managed to save a good amount for her too. Do I have any repercusions? Can I question it or fight it? This so overwhelming since I am still dealing w her dads estate since he just died s year ago.
    I look forward to your advice….

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cheryl,

      You cannot appeal being removed as payee; however, you can go into the Social Security office and ask to be reinstated. Take with you any proof you have of how you spent the money on your child. Also, take the bank account statement that shows the amount you have saved for her. You do not say whether she is living with you or elsewhere. If she is living elsewhere, be ready to explain why you are the best payee when you don’t have physical custody.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Katherine Osuna

    I was approved for SSDI very quickly; however they are insisting on a payee. This (in my opinion) is ridiculous. I have always handled my own finances and supported myself since I was 18. I wrote an appeal while I was in the office and when they rejected my spouse as the payee. I am appalled and am certain that my rights are being violated by this decision. What can I do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Katherine,

      . When your claim was approved, part of the medical review included a review of whether your disability would keep you from exercising sufficient judgement to pay your basic expenses first (shelter, food, medical, clothing, personal hygiene, etc. before other expenditures. You have appealed the fact you need a payee and now you have to wait for the decision on your appeal. If you haven’t already, you might get a statement from your physician that your disability does not affect your ability to handle money appropriately and submit it to support your appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Brian

    Hi my name is brian and im 15 years old and I was receiving money but now I dont and I would like to receive money again my mom had told the social security that she didn’t want it no more because we had got into it because I told some of the money was for me and the other money was for the food and the rent I wanted to now what can I do to get it back

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brian,

      For you to get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because you are disabled, your mother has to be willing for you to get SSI because periodically she has to give information about her income and assets so that your benefit amount can be redetermined. If you were receiving Social Security dependent or survivor benefits on a parent’s earnings record, you could go to Social Security and ask them to start the benefits with another adult as payee. However, that adult would have the responsibility of giving (probably most) of the money to your mother for your housing food, person hygiene items, etc.

      Either way, the best approach might be to talk with your mother, apologize for you part when you “got into it.” You might ask her to tell you how the money has been spent (clothing, school supplies, medical co-pays, etc.) so that you can understand budgeting and money management. Maybe you will be able to negotiate a small allowance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • miss wonder

    Iam currently my bf of 17yrs payee for disability. He is mentally disabled. What do i do when he says he doesnt want me to be his payee anymore because i wont give him money to buy drugs. He wants to report me saying im supposed to give him his money. But i do refuse to give for drugs. Can i get in trouble for not giving him his own money knowing he has started a drug habit?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Miss Wonder,

      As payee you are not supposed to give the person for whom you are payee money more than a small amount of spending money if available after paying for his shelter costs, food, clothing, medical, transportation (bus tickets), dental, personal care items. Giving even a small amount of spending money would not be appropriate if you know it will go for drugs. You have close relationship so you can take him out for entertainment and pay directly. What you are not allowed to do is use the money for yourself. If he reports you, just go to Social Security and explain the situation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michael

    Could I get advice. I’m a paranoid schizophrenic and I get survivor benefits as a disabled adult since I was disabled with this condition before I was 18 years old.My mother is my payee and I have nobody else. She has Hepatitis C and is in failing health and Diabetic. I’m afraid what will happen in the future. My question is will I lose my Survivor Benefits as an adult child if I become my own payee? I need to be my own payee but I’m afraid to apply to be my own payee for fear of losing my benefits. But I’m also afraid to lose my mother and not have a payee at all. I don’t know what to do. My mom wants me to file to be my own payee too but we are both afraid it will cut my Survivors benefits off. Will it?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      Your mother is your payee because of the concern that your illness will interfere with your paying for your basic needs–shelter, food, clothing, medical care and personal care items. If there is no one else who can be your payee, you and your mother could go to Social Security and explain the situation. It could help to take a letter from your psychiatrist that indicates your health has not improved but that he or she believes that you can make the right choices about the use of your benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rebecca

    I received my letter of approval and it stated that I needed a “non-family member” payee. Does this mean I have to go through an institution? Is there a way to set up my mother as payee? I live with her and have a minor child. She is taking care of both of us and would be an obvious choice. I don’t undersrand any of this and my lawyer sucks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rebecca,

      Sometimes family members are not appointed as payees because they have been convicted of a felony or are known to have an addiction problem. If neither of these apply, I suggest that you and your mother go to Social Security and file a formal request for her to be payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • jessica

    Hey im 18 years old and i was wondering how i can
    Be my own payee i recieve a ssi check im not mentally disabled but i do have respiratory problems im still in school i graduate this year and my grandma is my payee but she gives th money
    To my mother but she doesnt buy me clothes or anything she uses the money to buy pills she doesnt even give my baby any thing out of the money should i just get another payee what should I do

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jessica,

      I suggest that you talk with your grandmother and mother about how the money is being spent. It is appropriate that part of the money be used to pay for your share of the rent and heat, lights, water, and sewage and if she is providing food, your share of the food. The money could also be used for your personal hygiene items if she is supplying them. Then any money that is left over should be used for you. If your mother will not discuss the money with you, try discussing with your grandmother holding out a small part of the money to give to you for clothes.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kathleen

    Hello.
    My brother has progressive MS and just recently got divorced. During the two plus years of the divorce proceedings, my brother and his ex wife shared custody and parenting time. My brother was RP for his daughter’s benefit which she is receiving due to my brother’s disability.
    My brother was hospitalized at the end of January and in rehab for a good part of February. The rp report arrived during that time and I noted on it that my neice was temporarily living ft with her mom due to my brother’s condition. In late February it was determined that he would need to live in a skilled nursing facility. His kids came to visit regularly and he spent the monthly benefit to feed them and purchase birthday and Christmas gifts for them. The divorce was finalized in late October or early November. I went to the SS office to become my brother’s RP and learned that the monthly benefit would have to go to his ex wife. The direct deposit has been stopped was stopped and I provided the ex with the info needed to become RP for the benefits. After returning from the SS office she emailed my brother stating that he owed her the funds that were received for the months that he was in the nursing home prior to the divorce. As stated above, the benefit $ was used on the kids. We have made sure that she is now RP. Does the ex have a leg to stand on here? Beyond this, I just discovered that the direct deposit has started again but is going into my brother’s acct. I plan to mail the funds back to SS and let them know that the ex will be receiving the funds.
    Thank You,
    Kathleen

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathleen,

      If Social Security contacts your brother about the funds he received while he was in the skilled nursing center, he can provide a report of how the money was used for the children. If the funds were used for the children, then in all likelihood, there would be no basis for having to refund the money. If he has receipts for the expenditures, he should save them.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Angie Vasquez

    First I want to thank you for this valuable information that you have taken the time to Give to all of us.

    My brothers are both receiving disability. One brother is the payee for the other brother. I am suspicious of the payees actions and I need to know how I can find out if he is abusing his position and using the money for his own personal gain.

    I reported my suspicions already and would like to know how long it generally takes to investigate. In the meanwhile I suggested to the alleged victim to get a note from his physician to either suggest he can receive his own benefits and/or appoint an alternate payee.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Angie,

      It is hard to say how long the investigation will take and you will not be given updates. However, if you see further abuses, report it again.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Milinda

    My two children receive SSI and I was told I cannot be a payee rep for my children and I don’t know why. I was told dshs had something to do with it but I spoke with my case worker and she said they cant do stuff like that. How can I be my children’s payee

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Milinda,

      If you have been convicted of a felony or have a mental illness or a problem with addiction, you might not qualify to be the children’s payee. If the children live with you, work with the payee to communicate the children’s needs so that they are met.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Maria

    Hello, I am the payee for my 28 year old son who has had a mental illness due to a traumatic experience. He has been mandated by AOT to be his payee represented by case management organization. My son and I don’t want this to occur and i want to continue to be his payee representative. I ask you what should i do to appeal this order.

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Maria,

      I do not know for sure what AOT stands for, but I am going to take a guess that it is Assisted Outpatient Treatment that involves your son living in a facility supported by the AOT program. The Social Security Administration is probably not bound by AOT’s rules; however, it may be that the AOT program will not allow your son’s participation if you remain payee. I suggest that you and your son discuss the situation with the organization to understand their reasons for wanting to be payee and your and your son’s reasons for having you remain payee. Maybe something can be worked out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • mari

    Hi I have received ssi checks since my dad passed away. I went to the social security office to confirm that! My mother which is the payee told me I had never received them. I stopped going to school but I was also already 18, my benefits stopped on December of 2013 I turned 18 that November. I also hadn’t lived with her for almost three years before then! Is there any way I could get my money? I do t know if she has cashed the checks but I’m pretty sure because she always lies and says I don’t have any! My brothers and sisters got checks as well and she kept them. I would understand if she was my guardian but like I said I didn’t live with her for quite some years… What can I do about it? Could I get my money back in any way? Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mari,

      If someone else was providing you with housing and/or food and other needs during the three years you were not with your mother, I suggest you find out whether your mother gave that person your benefits to pay for your care. If not, you can go to the Social Security Administration and file a report of suspected fraud. Make a written report and provide any proof you have that you did not live with her for three years before your benefits terminated for no longer being in school. Make the request that the money be collected from your mother and reissued to you. You may never see the money or it could take years, but you will have tried. Also, the information I am giving you is not legal advice, so you might want to consult an attorney about the issue as well.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Marie Jones

    A person i know has been living with a roommate for over a year now
    The roommate is his payee and dose not show him documents from the social securty administration what should he do

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marie,

      The payee does not have to show the disabled individual the documents from Social Security; however, it would be reasonable for the payee to do so. If the individual thinks that his or her benefits are being misused, he or she should discuss this with Social Security. Note that the payee should use the money for half the rent and utilities, food, clothing, and medical for the disabled person.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Marie

        My friend went to social securty to see how much his benifts were with out his payee knowing.. his payee was telling him since December 2013 that he was getting $380 a month.. Since a few days ago he gotten a state ment that he was getting $929 a month and his payee had been having his mail go to a P.O box what should he do

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Marie,

          First, I suggest that your friend figure out whether his payee has been spending $929 a month to pay his expenses including rent, utilities, phone, food, clothing, transportation, medical and prescription co-pays, spending money, etc. If he has, perhaps the payee means that there is only $380 left after paying basic expenses. If that is the case, then the payee is probably doing his or her job. If not, your friend can go to Social Security and report misuse of funds. If he does this, he should be prepared to recommend someone else to be his payee and, if possible, take that person with him to file an payee application.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Makj

    Hi. I’m 17 and my mom has always received my social security checks I haven’t seen a single one. Today in the mail I recieved a check and it said order to pay (my name)
    I’ve never seen this small paper check. Can I cash it and it be mine? Or is my mom expecting this check? Is this a bonus check or? I’m confused what to do. Because I could use the money but if my moms expecting it I don’t want to start anything.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Makj,

      I do not know why your benefits have started in your name, unless you will be eighteen soon and the payee was incorrectly switched over. Regardless, I suggest that you discuss the check with your mother. It is likely that she has previously been using your check to cover your basic living expenses and the check you have received may be needed for the same. Or, if the check has been paid in error, she can help you get it straightened out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rachel

    My husband had his appeal for social security approved by an Administrative Law Judge. The judge found that the medical evidence shows him to have the following severe impairments: insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic nephropathy, obesity, major depressive disorder, and personality disorder. At the end of the letter the judge wrote that it is recommended that a determination be made concerning the appointment of a representative payee who can manage payments in the claimant’s best interest. We have received a letter in the mail to meet with a woman about this. I feel he is capable of handling his finances responsibly. If we tell the woman we meet with that we feel a payee is not necessary will they still make him get a statement from a doctor? Also, since he has physical reasons for being approved, would he still be at risk for losing his benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rachel,

      If the judge’s letter says that a determination needs to be made regarding whether your husband needs a payee and not that he needs a payee and if the approval letter says the approval is based all on physical and not on the mental illness diagnoses, then I think the risk of the decision being overturned seems less likely than if the approval is partially based on mental health. (Please understand that this is an opinion and not a guarantee.) You could start with you two saying he can handle the funds; and if that isn’t accepted; get a letter from a physician about mental capability for using benefits for his basic needs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Paraphone

    I am curious who has “ownership” of the funds once they are released.

    If the recipient “owns” the money once the check has been received, then is it not unconstitutional to force them to have a representative payee, stripping them of property rights?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Paraphone,

      A representative payee acts as an agent for the beneficiary (recipient) and uses the beneficiary’s benefits for his or her maintenance so the beneficiary is not losing anything.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • damaris

    I receive ssd payments and my payee is my dad, also my kids have been approve because of my benefits but sister is there payee. How ever ssd doesn’t want to give me any information in my kids benefits they say that she have to call not me how do I find out how much my kids should be receiving? because my sister wont tell me

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Demaris,

      I believe that you have the right to know the amount of benefits being paid on your earnings record. However, if Social Security persists in not telling you, you can call Social Security and ask the amount of your family maximum benefit. Depending on how high your benefit is and how many children you have, your children may be getting a total among them all that is equal the difference between your gross benefit before reduction for Medicare premiums or taxes and the amount of the family maximum benefit. I assume the children live with your sister and not with you. If they live with you, then there are other issues.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • damaris

        my kids leave with me but ss approve me for benefits but they assigned a payee for me and my kids, I was diagnose with bipolar disorder type 1, depression with Psychosis and PTSD

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Demaris,

          My response to your current question supplements my prior response. If your and your children’s needs are being met, your payee is doing her job. If certain needs are not being met, I suggest chatting with her about what is missing and whether there is money to cover those things.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Liz

    I am 17 years old and receive a check because of my deceased mother. I will be turning 18 and moving out very soon. My father is my payee and I think he if forging my signature on things because I have never signed any papers for anything since I started recieving the checks in 2010 and found out he has forged my signature on a paper about turning 18. He has an account with both of our names on it that my check is deposited in and he claims it has a lot of money he is saving for me. How do I access that if it came from my ss checks and he will not discuss what he spends my money on or how much is in the account or how much I review a month? How can I have my payee changed until I turn 18 for me to be my own payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Liz,

      Because you are a minor, your father has been made your payee. He is required to report to Social Security annually about how he uses the money. I do not know what paper “about turning age eighteen” you are referring to, but it is appropriate and legal for him to sign all papers until you turn age eighteen. If you still in high school after your eighteenth birthday, benefits will continue and can be paid in your name. If your father is providing you with housing, food, clothing, person care items, school supplies and other educational needs, pays your medical and dental bills, and provides you with a reasonable allowance, then he probably is not misusing your benefits. As far as accessing the savings, I suggest you talk to Social Security about what you need to do to have the money transferred to you when you turn eighteen.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • yajaira

    I want to be my own payee on my social security benefits , my mom was my payee now my friend am 35 years old and know how to sign my name and I pay my rent what can I do and what do I need

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Yajaira,

      I suggest you talk with your doctor to see whether your doctor believes you are capable of managing your benefits to your best interests. If so, ask him or her to write a letter to that effect. You can take the letter to Social Security and apply to be your own payee. You do not have to have a letter from your doctor but it could help. If your payee just gives you the money each month, tell Social Security that also.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Whitney

    I receive ssi/disability but my mother is my payee, I want to move out of state but I want my mother to continue to be my payee, can she still be my payee if I am in a different state? I am very happy with my mother as my payee and I trust her and she makes sure that I and my children have everything we need but I want to move to a different state and start fresh! Is this possoble to live in one state and my payee live in another???

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Whitney,

      If you and your mother can work out a system that allows her to know what your needs are with you living in another state and pay your housing costs directly to the landlord and utility companies and otherwise manage the money, you and she could go to Social Security before you move and explain what you have worked out and that you want her to continue to be your payee. They may allow it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ron

    My father has been transferred from disability to now just Social Security since turning 65. I am wondering do I still need to continue filling out the annual representative payee report every year or do I have to show he’s capable of dealing with his own expenses?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ron,

      I would expect someone transferring to Social Security retirement in this year to be age sixty-six. So, I wonder if your father is just going onto Medicare and not retirement. If he is capable of handling his own funds, a letter from his doctor would be helpful to establish that. In the meantime, as long as you are payee, your should manage your father’s money and complete the annual accounting report.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • April Berry

    Hi! my mother in law receives SSD and survivors benefits from VA, in the past 2 years she has lost her husband and had brain surgery. My husband and I took her in because she was having memory problems. Here is the issue, she receives this money and we have learned that she is being scammed by men on the internet. She was even arrested for fraud because of one of these men but charges were dropped because she paid the bank back. We have had multiple law enforcement employes talk to her and nothing changes. We told her she needs to let us take care of her finances for her because she is not capable. I believe she needs to have a payee. How do we go about doing that without her consent?
    Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear April,

      To receive and manage your mother-in-law’s benefits, you need to file an application to be her payee at the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the VA. If possible accompany the application with a letter from her physician regarding her need for a payee. Also bring whatever proof you have that she is being scammed. If you are not successful, you can go to court and seek to have her declared incompetent and become her court-appointed conservator and/or guardian. Once that order is obtained, then reapply to be payee at SSA and the VA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sonya

    I am my husband’s payee, he is mentally disabled, and I was appointed the payee. I am fine with this, with the exception of they told us when we first got the SSI that I would not be able to work, if I do, his money and benefits go away. Is this true and still an issue? I am about to be done with school and going to be working. My husband gets very little money and a small amount of foodstamps, he gets Medicaid and thankfully all of his medicines are covered. I will not be able to get health insurance right away and I am very worried that with me working, if he loses his benefits, he will not be able to get his medications. Please help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sonya,

      You can have some earnings as part of the work-incentive provisions of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) law and also some of your work earnings are allocated for your own support and for the support of your children if you have minor children in the household before any are counted against your husband. If your earnings are so high that your husband loses his SSI and his Medicaid that is based on being eligible for SSI, apply right away to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to bridge until you can get him on your employer-sponsored insurance. Depending on your income, you might qualify for some government subsidy to help with the premiums.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michael

    I receive SSI and manage it myself. My 13-yr old son receives a check based on my disability and his mother is his rep payee, he lives,with her. He is coming to llive with me in a change of custody. I assume I am not allowed to be his rep payee. Can SSA appoint someone else, e.g. my mother whose house we will live in, as his rep payee or will he lose the benefit by living with me?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      First, you are not receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income); you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI). Your child’s benefits will continue and should be paid to an adult with physical custody. You can apply to be payee for your son and unless you have had a felony, there should be no reason you can’t be his payee. If it would work better because of your disability for your mother to be payee and she is honest and reliable, then she can apply. If she does, it could be helpful for you to make a statement that you support her being payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kerri

    I receive SSDI. My fiancée’s step mom is my landlord and ALSO my payee.. She has been charging a service fee for being my payee with out SSA knowledge and just recently started writing checks out in her name-not wells fargo for the rent. Letters have been coming to my house where I live with my two young children with mortage default. Ive reported this to SSA. I told her we would be moving soon…. yet she still took money out(full) after I told her to use my security deposit as the rent(I knew at this point she has not been paying the mortgage) What do I need to do at this point? It’s a bad situation as this is my future MIL, kids grandmother, my payee and landlord (until next week)

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kerri,

      You need a different payee. It is not legal to charge a fee to be your payee. Once you pay rent to your landlady/payee, you do not have any control over whether she pays the mortgage or not unless your name is on the property, which apparently it is not. I recommend that you talk with a responsible adult whom you can trust and ask that person to be your payee. Then go to Social Security with the person when he or she applies and explain why you want a different payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • nathan

    Dear Kay,
    I am a 47 yearold male who has been disabled for 15 years. I was given disabilty right after my accident and my mother was appointed my payee. I do not remember why. Since then i have also had a stroke. I have lived by myself for 10 years and would like to have control over my own money. My mother is 70 years old and very over bearing and this causes us alot of arguing. I have neveverhandled my money inapproprietly. She refuses to budge. I called ssi and was told they did not know why i have a payee. My worry is this, my doctor of ten years recently retired, he knew me very well. Since i have had a stroke my thinking process is different than most but not to the point that i cant handle my own money. Some things just take me longer to process than others. Im afraid the person i go to see at the office will be biased to my mother because she speaks better than i. And is quick to her respo se where as i am not. Or they may view me as dumb. I am not. My origanol injury was t4 paraplegic, but i dont feel i should have my rights taken away just because my legs dont work. Any advice woyld be helpful. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nathan,

      It is possible that you had a payee appointment in the beginning while you were recovering from the initial accident and getting stabilized; then no one questioned it after that. I suggest that you try to contact the physician who has recently retired and who knows you to see if he would write a letter saying you are capable. If you don’t think that is possible then talk with your current physician about writing a letter.

      You can go to Social Security by yourself without your mother and apply to be your own payee. Taking a letter from the doctor would be helpful. Put on the application that you have been living independently for ten years and, if you have been making any of your own purchases or handling any of your own business, list that.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Todd

    I have a question,
    I am on ssdi and my mother is my payee.My Father passed away not long ago and my Mother is 76 and wants to put my payment to my acct. in case something was to happen to her.How do we go about getting this done.We called ss and they are really not to helpful they want a letter from my Dr. sayings it’s fine but will not tell me what he should actually write down for them.By the way all my records the Dr. filled out for me state that i am competent to handle my funds.we never thought much of it as of why the Judge put it through this way until now.What should i ask my Dr. for?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Todd,

      A letter from your doctor should say that you are capable of handling your funds, including that you have the judgement to pay for housing, food, medical needs first. He should also say whether or not your capability is an indication that your medical or psychiatric condition has improved to the point that you are no longer disabled. If he thinks not, he might list his reasons.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Todd

        Kay is it better for me to just get a new payee or can she just add my brother to the acct. I dont want to have to go through the night mare of proving my disability all over again with them.What is the best way to go forward.We are only wanting to do this in case something was to happen to her.Again she is 76

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Todd,

          Just adding your brother to the bank account will not satisfy Social Security requirements. Your brother needs to complete a representative payee application and set up an account with the title “your name by his name, representative payee.” Your grandmother should not close the current account until after your benefits start to come to the new account.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Regina

    I hope u can answer question regarding survivor benefits as well.. I just noticed.. Sorry but I sure hope u can help me out…

  • Regina

    Hi Kay…
    I need your help please.. Or your wisdom..
    Anyway I wanna start by saying I am an ex spouse of the deceased and I have two of his children… My
    Only two btw… Didn’t wanna sound like I have ten.. Haha
    Anyway I just recently found out than I am able to receive benefits because I take care of his children..
    I have a four year old felony charge where I was hooked on dang pain pills for a little while but have done nothing for four years!!!
    Anyway she told me that since I have a felony I cannot be payee over those benefits or even apply for the benefits. I was just reading the SSA website and it states certain guidelines that they have to follow and one being that if you are the legal custodian or natural mother caring solely for those children then that overrides or excludes the provisions of stating that I cannot receive due to my
    Felony…
    I don’t have a clue what to think
    Or believe anymore… Please help me!!
    Is that correct? By me being the caretaker of my own children, being their mother, does that not exclude the provisions of if you have felonies you get no benefits or payee over survivors benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Regina,

      I suggest that you printout the guidelines you read on the government website and take them with you to the Social Security office and file an application to be payee. Put on the application that the felony was RX pill related and you have been clean and crime-free for four years and have sole care of the children.

      Whether or not you are made payee, I don’t believe that you can be denied benefits for yourself because you have had a felony conviction. If you were married to the deceased for ten years or more, you can file an application for yourself. (It will reduce the benefits of the children, but could protect your eligibility for surviving divorced wife’s benefits later. One reason not to apply is if you are working and earning more than $15,480 gross. If you are, your benefit would be reduced one dollar for every two you earn over that amount.) Also, start considering which grandparent or aunt or uncle of the children would be the best to serve as payee in the event your payee application is denied. (Payee choice decisions cannot be appealed.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • ashley

    im 23 and getting ssd. i moved away from my guardian who is also my payee. is he entitled to and of my ssd money? im thinking about making my boyfriend who lives with me that we have a baby with to be the payee but he has a felony background. how i get around knowing if he can?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      Your guardian is not entitled to any of your Social Security Disability (SSD). As your payee, he should pay for your rent and utilities directly to the landlord and utility companies and make arrangements to pay for your other needs. It is possible that your boyfriend will not be approved to be your payee because of his felony history.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • kory

    I have a question.. Im 21 yrs of age. I have a 3 yr old son.. I’m on ssi since i was 5 yrs old . I’m physically disabled. Not mentaly.. Im living with mymom . i wanted to know if i could be my own payee. Cuz i want to move out. I pay all the bills in the house Cuz she don’t work.. And I discuss with her that I want to move out and start my own life. But very time we talk about that. She starts telling me that if I go to the ssi and try to be my own payee they will discontinued my check. But I’m physically disabled for life. Is that true. Im bowlegged and i think I’m capable of taking care of my self and my son. But she then starts to say that i can’t they will take away my benifts if I go live by myself.. But im tired of being in my house. They dont respect me at all. She doesn’t give me money from my check. Cuz I understand I pay the bills . but I want to start my life she wont let me. So my question is if I go and ask the ssi if I can be my own payee will the discontinue my benefits. ??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kory,

      If your disability is entirely based on your physical condition, it is unlikely that your applying to be your own payee would raise any question about your disability having ended. If your benefits are being paid partially based on having limited mental capacity or a mental condition, then a disability review might be initiated to see if you are still disabled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • JAMES woolens

    Thank you..i cancelled my card to get a new one,because im my own payee..i just thought i had to give my card up,because im in the program

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear James,

      I suggest that you talk with the director of the program to find out what your financial responsibilities are to be in the program, other than rent, that is whether you have to use part of your benefits to pay for the program.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely

  • carmen

    can i be a payee to someone if we live in diffrent state from each other?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carmen,

      To be selected as a payee, you would have to have a plan figured out to show Social Security. The role of the payee is to care for the beneficiary’s needs, which is difficult to do remotely. Would you visit once or twice a year to take the person shopping for clothing? How would you be sure the money is being spend for food, if he or she doesn’t have food stamps. However, if nearly all the benefit will go for rent, utilities, medical co-pays, a buspass, and other things that can be paid directly, it is conceivable that you could be payee. Any small amount of money left over that doesn’t need to be saved up for a special purchase for the person could be sent to the person in weekly installments.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kim Harris

    I’m 22 years old and my grandmother is my payee and I’m trying to become my own payee, but every time I talk to the SSI people they say my grandmother is the best bet for me, but every time i ask for money she says i dont have none and i know she goes to Bingo on what money she dont give me. what do I do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kim,

      Try to find another person who is reliable and whom you trust to be your payee and take that person with you to Social Security to apply to be your representative payee. Also explain to Social Security that you believe that your grandmother is misusing part of your benefits and explain why you think so, specifically what needs of yours are not being met.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • JAMES woolens

    I am in a program called options of independence and my card is issued to me in my name and i have a case manager…but my case manager is taking my money from me and going back to the bank and taking my money off my card without my consent..i cant even buy things for myself..all he want me to do is pay my rent and utilities with my money..and saying i dont need this i dont need that…he want even let me see what he withdrawing off my card or my receipt coming out the atm machine…just recently i tried to pay my phone bill from my card..and my phone said insufficient funds..he had went back to the atm machine after we left the atm machine..and withdraw all my money out without my consent….and he is taking from me more than helping me…i sunt off for another card..and i dont like how he treating my mental illness..im a paranoid schizophrenic and major depression.and playing me like im stupid like i dont know no better…can i press charges or sue the program for misrepresenting…i been living in this apartment from options of independence for two months and paid close to a $1000 when my rent suppose be $125 a month and my utility bill $50 a month…im being rip off by my case manager…he doesn’t listen to nothing i say at all…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mark,

      Your judge may have been ill or out of the office for some reason. You might call the hearings office and ask whether he is currently in the office and working on decisions.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear James,

      I suggest that you try to make an appointment with a supervisor or a manager at Options of Independence to report what has been happening, to request that the agency do an audit of your caseworker’s use of your funds, and to assign you a different case manager. Also, go to Social Security to report the misuse of funds. If there is someone else who can serve as your payee, take that person with you to apply. If you need help with all this, contact NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) to see if they can help or know someone who can.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Bresha

    Can I cash my SII check if my rep payee is unable or unavailable?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bresha,

      You cannot cash a check that is not made out to you. If your payee is unable to cash the check, you need a different payee. If the payee is going to be unavailable long enough that you can’t meet your needs, the same thing applies. I suggest that you contact Social Security right away to arrange for a different payee or if you are capable of handling your own funds including having the judgment to pay for basics (rent, utilities, food) first, to apply to be your own payee.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • gissel

    I am 17 years old and i have a baby i want to rent alone because my mom spends all my money only in rent ($721) and does not give me. Can i be my own payee

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gissel,

      I suggest that you discuss being your own payee with Social Security; however, keep in mind that housing is the first thing that your payee is responsible for seeing that you have.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dianna

    I have a question regarding my 23 yr old son. He receives SSDI as a disabled adult child, under my record since I am disabled as well. I am his representative payee and all is fine there.
    The problem is that he has a part time job and since that money is not from SS he has control over the money he makes at his job. We have tried working with him to spend his money responsibly but he really cannot control himself. He spends it all within a day or two of getting paid, and I am afraid he lets others take advantage of his goodwill as well. He says it is his money and why do I care. I care because I want him to be responsible for something, to not overdraw his account every 2 weeks, to save, etc. His disability is enough for his regular bills but not much else.
    What would I have to do to get his father or I appointed to manage his non SSDI money? I agree that it’s his money to spend, however he needs guidance, like maybe letting us give it to him a little at a time but just not all at once where the first 2 days are grand and then the time between then and the every 2 weeks payday is unbearable.

    Thank you for your help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dianna,

      Your question does not deal with Social Security benefits, but I’ll offer these thoughts. There is a saying that “no one is a prophet in his own land,” and I add to that especially a parent or a spouse. If there is an association serving individuals with your son’s illness, perhaps they could offer some suggestions to you and guidance to your son. Or, perhaps you could talk with a family law attorney for advice or suggestions.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jake

    Kay, my 15 year old daughter receives a benefit from the death of her mother, and has for the past 3 years. I am the Payee for the account. I just learned that the maternal grandmother just took her and opened a new bank account earlier this week, then went to the social security office to have the payments made directly to my daughter, all behind my back. I don’t misuse the funds. Most of it is in a savings account for my daughter when she gets out of high school, but some of it pays her school bills, food, allowance, medical bills, sports fees, clothing, etc…I have electronic record of all of it. Nobody bothered to call me to say it was being changed, why it was changed, etc. I know it was, because I saw the letter from the SS office that was hidden in my daughters room. My questions are, how was she able to go get it changed without my knowledge and/or permission, and can I get it changed back so it’s not wasted by my 15 year old, who I also just discovered has an ulterior motive of moving into an apartment with friends.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jake,

      I recommend that you go to your local Social Security office as soon as possible. Take your accounting records with you to prove that you are not misusing your daughter’s funds. Be prepared to explain the specific use you have in mind for the funds when she gets out of high school–turn the money over to her, pay college or trade school tuition, etc. Apply to have the funds put back in your name as you have custody of and responsibility for your daughter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jake

        I did this. They didn’t care what I had to say. They shut me down and would not tell me a thing. It was like I was I was the black sheep and they’d been told not to tell me anything. I found the paperwork they gave my daughter. It states that I am the father and am interested in her on one line, then the next line it states that she has no legal guardian. We approached my daughter and told her we knew what had happened and she sang like a bird. She said her grandmother had her sign some papers, but she didn’t know what they were. She also stated that the grandmother told the SS office that we were abusing the funds, taking vacations, and buying new cars, etc. My wife and I are both fairly well off. We don’t touch my daughters money for ourselves. I have been saving it, and she has received SOME of it for allowances, clothing, school stuff, etc. I was trying to teach her how to manage some of it. The remainder went into a savings account. Just the fact that it seems that any schmuck can go into the social security office, present false information, and have funds redirected is alarming. The social security office didn’t even bother to interview us, investigate, etc. They just changed it based on the grandmothers word.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jake,

          If you haven’t already, I suggest that you return to the Social Security office with your daughter and have your daughter make a statement. Also present proof of having saved the majority of the funds.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Jake

            Thank you. This is what we plan to do. If I can find her. She has already received her first payment by herself ($800) and disappeared. We haven’t seen her in almost 5 days.

  • JTZ

    My wife was awarded benefits for a neurological disability last October. I am her payee representative. In December, we bought a house and our bills increased, causing us to spend almost $10,000 of her benefits in addition to my income. We have questions regarding her benefit review and reporting process, and need guidance.

    1. When should we expect to have to go through the review/report process to explain how her funds were spent?

    2. Can you explain how the process works?

    3. What records should we provide to verify where the money went?

    4. How do I verify her portion of all the bills without receipts? Are receipts necessary? Is it good enough to print bank statements that show bills paid from joint account?

    5. If the money was transferred from her RP account through direct deposit to our joint account to pay bills, is that a problem?

    6. If I cannot verify where the money went this first time, what will happen? Will they request a new person manage her money? Or will they reduce her benefit amount?

    7. What type of system should I use so this doesn’t happen in the future?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear JTZ,

      I will answer your numbered questions.

      1. You can excpect to receive a request to account for the use of your wife’s funds once a year.
      2. You get a letter and fill out the accounting form, attaching any receipts that are requested.
      3. You should keep a record of the use of all her funds. A simple ledger of date, item or service purchased, and the cost. Keep the receipts in case their is any question.
      4. If bills are set up on bill pay, then the bank statements seem reasonable proof.
      5. I would say that if you keep a record of the transfer of funds to pay bills, it should be okay. I just funneling money into the joint account only for things that have to be paid from the account, such as utility bills, mortgage.
      6. Given that you spend a lot of money, it is a good idea to locate the paperwork to support it, especially the money spent on the purchase of the house.
      Your wife’s benefits will not be reduced due any failure on your part to account for the funds. If you misused the funds, then a new payee might be appointed.
      7. Try what I described in answer to #3.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • JTZ

        Thank you for your quick answer! Much appreciated!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, JTZ.

  • mas

    I am 18 years old living in New Mexico where you legally become an adult at age 18. I receive monthly checks becausey father passed away while I was still 17 so I had to have my dad’s cousin becomes legal guardian. I receive close to $1000 a month and they charge $350 monthly rent, not including my phone bill or car insurance, nothing but rent. I have a place where I could live and pay no rent. The money is deposited into my checking account but it is a “youth checking account” so she took it right out since she had control. How hard would it be to set up my own bank account and start getting it deposited there?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mas,

      Now that you are eighteen, you can go to the Social Security Administration and apply to be your own payee. If you are receiving benefits only as a child of your father and not as a disabled child, you benefits will end the earlier of when you turn nineteen or stop attending high school.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lucas

    Hello Kay,

    I have been on SSI for about 30 years. I was depressed. I’m feeling better now and would like to get off it and be on my own. I have been living with my family for the whole time. We live in a house. I would continue to live with my family until I can rent my own place. How do I get off of SSI? Do I call them and ask to be removed from SSI? How long does it take to be off of SSI? I get 2 checks each month for about $1200.00. My Mother is the payee. I received a lump sum check from my Father’s Social security. I’d like to start a business with it. It’s in my Mother’s name in a bank account.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lucas,

      Good for you for wanting to get into the work force. If you are getting $1,200 a month, you are receiving Social Security benefits, not SSI, which is Supplemental Security Income. SSI does not pay benefits that high. If you are recovered, you can report your recovery to the Social Security Administration and your benefits will stop. However, if you are feeling better, but there is some question about whether you will be able to sustain work activity, you might qualify for Social Security’s return-to-work incentives, which start with a nine-month trial work period, during which you can receive benefits while establishing yourself in a job or a business. The incentives include continuation of Medicare coverage for a while even after benefits stop. I suggest that you discuss your return-to-work plans with your physician and with the Social Security Administration to decide what is the best course for you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mary

    Hello,

    My daughter’s father passed away in July; my daughter turned 18 on
    September 6th. She was entitled to receive two social security
    survivor checks. Unfortunately, the checks were written out to her.
    We both were residing overseas. When the checks arrived, I had my
    father endorse the check on her behalf and deposit it. The funds were
    used to cover medical and other expenses that I have occurred for my
    daughter. To make a long story short, my daughter returned to the
    United States, and then after speaking to a relative began inquiring
    about personally receiving the social security funds in her own hands.
    I informed her that I used the funds to cover outstanding medical bills
    that I have for her. I’m now worried that she may try to create a problem
    regarding this matter. As her mother, I am legally entitled to disburse the
    funds as I deemed is needed on her behalf, correct? Of course, the two checks
    were issued to cover her expenses as a minor, which is no different
    than a parent applying child support payments in a way they deem necessary
    to provide and cover funds for a child as a minor…

    Mary

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      The only person who could legally endorse your daughter’s Social Security check was your daughter. The payment was issued to her because she was an adult at the time the payment was made. One adult to another, you could have asked her to have the money applied to her outstanding medical bills, but legally you probably have no right to the money.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mary

        Hi Kay,
        The check was deposited while she was still under the age
        of 18 and before her 18th birthday. Her name was signed and then beside her name was written “minor”. Can you explain why the funds would be hers if funds are paid for someone under 18 years of age?

        • Mary

          Hi Again,
          I should also have mentioned the following: on the back of the check, my father wrote my daughter’s name and then “minor”. He then wrote “pay to the order of” and then his name. Initially, when the claim was filed with social security, they stated that they would deposit the funds on a debit card. That way our family back home could easily deposit the funds into the bank account and allow us
          to access the funds. Not sure what happened to cause it to be sent as a check.
          I’m a bit confused as to why the check was put in her name as she was still a minor and being supported by me.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Mary,

          I am responding to both of your messages of Sept. 17. I believe that Social Security anticipated that your child would receive the benefits after she was age eighteen. The earliest benefits are paid is the month after they are due, so it seems likely that the check arrived in your daughter’s birthday month. Ordinarily, payment to a minor is made in someone else’s name, usually the custodial parent, for example, “your name for minor’s name.” As payee the adult receives the money and must use it for the child’s current needs and if any is left over for the child’s debts, such as medical debts. (It is the child’s money, but under control of the adult payee). You used the money for your child’s medical bills and were taking care of her current needs, so there may be no problem. In any event, perhaps you can get clarity about your situation by talking with Social Security.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Vince

    I don’t even know where to begin. I have a disabled son that is the age of 20 as of August 9th 2014. He receives ssi and my ex_wife is the payee. I have no say so. I think she is mentally disabled but she think she is normal and everybody else have a problem. She have received ssi for him due to him having a mental disability diagnosed at age seven. I have paid her child support for the last 12 years ever since we divorced in 2002. A year ago when he turned 19 I had a long talk with her and told her when he reach the age of 20 I will not be paying anymore support per the law. Let me just say this I haven’t missed not one child support payment. The issue is she is unfit and not responsible. She have had several evictions due to her not being responsible in paying rent. She frequently gets lights cut off. There are times when there’s no food. I have had to sign the lease in my name n instead of giving her the money to waste I paid rental office just to provide a roof over my sons head using the child support money and I would give her the balance every month. I work out of the country most of the time and is only home In GA ten days out of the month. I would rather my son be placed in a group home environment then to continue to live with her. She refuses to go out and look for a job. The money she get she waste. I believe she may possibly abuse alcohol n drug use. I’m not sure but based on her behavior its possible. She is incapable of taking care of herself moreless take care of my 20 year old son. She was placed in the hospital for psychological evals several times this past year. One day back in February when it was so cold she walked down the street with no clothes on in the middle of the night with my son who was 19 at the time to a relatives house. When she got there she was incoherent. Then she was throwing away important things like her debit card that my sons ssi goes on. Just having some weird behavior. She was knocking on stranger doors in the upscale apartment complex where they currently reside. The weird things she do n the list goes on and on. My main concern is my adult son and having him in a stable environment. I believe she gets about 500.00 a month in ssi. I was giving her $800 in support. She wants to be dependent on me all her life while she sit back and do nothing for her life. She doesn’t provide anything for him. I currently provide the apartment but cannot continue to do so. I don’t think its right now that he is 20 just because she want to continue to receive stability for herself. She never got him any therapy. I told her to put him in a community program or get him some therapy. She keep enrolling him in high school just so I can continue paying support. She uses my son so I can continue to pay. In the state of Ga I think you can stay in school until you reach 21. What do you suggest that I do. She may become homeless along with my son once the support stops which I told her a whole year ago to get herself together. She made no effort. I believe the law in Ga states that I am no longer required to pay once a child reaches 20 or in high school which ever comes first. Mind you she keep threatening to take me back to court for more money and my son is an adult. I just want him to be placed in an environment where he can get the help n services he need. She makes no effort to get him any services. She even told me that she was putting him back in high school just so I can keep paying. Please help. I don’t know what to do. My son is the one suffering under her roof. All she care about is money and herself. She wont fill out any paperwork for programs or speech. Nothing. He talks very little and is on a 5 year old level. Will social security find a place for him. Also, at what age will he get an increase being that he is not a minor anymore.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Vince,

      With regard to arranging appropriate care for you son, I suggest that you contact an attorney who is experienced in family law to discuss the possibility of a legal guardianship for him so that you can be the decision maker regarding where he lives and what health care he receives.

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment amounts are not determined by age. The amount a disabled person can receive is determined by the amount of other income, if any, he has. The child support you have been providing is income to your son. When you pay the rent, half of that amount is countable to reduce his SSI up to a maximum reduction of $241 a month, which reduces the SSI benefit to $480. The cash you give his mother that is child support money should be causing a further reduction in his check.

      Your son’s SSI payment amount may increase or decrease if he moves into a group home or other care facility. This will depend on the type of home or facility and whether or not Medicaid is paying more than fifty percent of his cost of care in the facility.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Vince

        Thanks Kay for getting back with me. Instead of spending money for an attorney is there another less expensive option. Can Social security be contacted by me to explain whats going on? Will they even talk with me and I’m not the payee. What action will they take to help my son? I wish I could take care of him but again I’m only home 10 days every month. Will they locate a place to live. Will they investigate and confirm that she is not able to take care of him and take her rights away as Payee and secure him a place to live. I thought in order to be a payee you have to be able to provide. Also if she does not want to do this and want to continue to live with him will they find a place for the both of them like maybe section 8 or public housing.

        Can you please confirm the law for me. I looked it up several times n to my understanding a non custodial parent per The state of Georgia laws should provide support till a child reach 18 or as long as long is in high school up till age 20 which ever comes first. As I stated he turned 20 on August 9th. I paid the child support for August on the 1st of August prior to him turning 20. Since turning 20 I did not pay Sept because based off law I am not subject to. Did I understand this correctly? Also being that I’m not couldn’t she qualify for the 241 or the maximum amount of like $680.00 or more? I’m just curious what is the maximum benefit a person can possibly receive? She won’t handle anything business related to help our son.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Vince,

          The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not find your son a living arrangement. It will be up to you or his mother to contact social services agencies to try to get him situated in supervised living arrangement. You do not have to have physical custody of your son to be payee; you just have to have a way of seeing that his needs are being met. If he is in supervised care, you could probably do that even though you are in the country only ten days a month.

          If you apply to be your son’s payee, you can make a full written statement about how your son is not being cared for and that his funds are being misused. SSA will not release information to you at that point, but they will take information from you. Another option is if your son moves into a living situation with case management or into a care facility, the case management program or facility might be willing to be payee.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Vince

            Hello Kay, You have been very helpful in answering my questions. I appreciate it so much. I have one more question and I should have enough information. I want to know if I do request to become his payee will his benefit amount be based off my income. I do not live with my son. Haven’t since I divorced his mother back in 2002. How does that work will they look at my income by applying to be payee. I would hate for his money to be taken from him especially now that he is twenty years old. Is ssi based off the income of the payee.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Vince,

              Your applying to be your son’s payee will not cause your income to be considered in the determination of his SSI benefit amount.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Mary

    Hello,
    I’ve tried looking for an answer to this question on the Social Security Administration website but no luck. Can a mother who recently became a legal resident be named as a “Representative Payee” for her disabled son? The 5 year old child currently has a Representative Payee(relative) because of the mother’s previous immigration status. Since the immigration status was resolved and she now lives in the U. S., she will be applying for her social security number but was unsure about qualifying to be his Representative Payee. Seems before she became a legal resident she remembers being told by INS she could not apply for any government benefits. She called her local SSA office but was informed she could not be assigned as his Representative Payee. Thank you for your time and looking forward to hearing your response.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      I suggest that if the mother has been granted permanent residence with a “green card,” that she formally apply to be payee for her son. That way she will get a formal determination.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tammy Pickens

    My 1 year old nephew gets a check for 66.00 every month for SSD because his dad is on disability. He and the baby’s mom dropped him off to me last December 28th asking me if I could watch him for 3 days. Well, 3 days has turned into 8 months. Neither the dad nor the mom have helped out financially to support the baby at all…no diapers, food or clothing, etc. Can I request from the Social Security Department for myself to become his payee even if the father does not want me too? What kind of proof do I need to show that I’ve had the baby in my care as opposed to the parents? I finally filed for emergency guardianship on July 3rd and it was granted to me. The judge ordered a CPS investigation and now I have both of their kids, the 1 year old in addition to the 10yr old brother, because CPS filed a Dependency hearing and have now made me a Kinship Foster Parent for both of the children. Can I get back payment for the SSD that the baby did not receive for the 8 months that I had him, because the father kept the money and did not use it to support the baby? and can I become the payee for both of the children from this point until the children go back to their parents…if they go back to their parents?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tammy,

      You can apply to be payee for all the children and I suggest that you do so as soon as possible. Take the guardianship and foster care papers to Social Security with you, plus a copy of any related documentation in which you make a statement of when the baby came to you. Social Security appoints payees at their own discretion so they can appoint you even if the children’s father or mother objects. You will not get back pay for the months the father or mother received it unless they refund it to Social Security.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tammy Pickens

        Okay, I will do so…Thanks so much for your advice and information Kay.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Tammy.

  • Christopher

    Hi,
    I was awarded Disability benefits and a Representative Payee.
    I don’t need one. I am perfectly capable of managing my own finances. My dad was appointed to be my rep and every month he just writes me a check for the amount and I deposit it. Ive read and learned from others that in order to get rid of my Representative Payee then I would need a letter from my treating physician stating that I am capable of managing my funds – this is fine. I have a Doctor who can do this. However, the SSA website states that once you file this appeal they have the right to “reevaluate your eligibility for disability payments.” I’m not sure I”m willing to take that risk given it took 4 years just to get disability! What do you think?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christopher,

      There is always a risk that applying to be your own payee with a letter from a physician can trigger a review of whether or not you are still disabled. I suggest discussing the situation with your doctor to see if he or she thinks that your ability to handle your funds is related to whether or not you are disabled. If the doctor believes your disability is based on aspects of mental illness unrelated to money handling, he could include in the statement an opinion that you have not improved since the approval and that being unable to handle money has never been one of your disabling symptoms and then he could list continuing disabling conditions.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • J.M. McLeod

    I am a Community Living Supports worker. I have a client who is 23 and receives SSDI. Her father is her representative payee. She does not get to see where her money goes or how it is allocated. She is told the money goes into his bank account. She feels she has the right to know but is very intimidated by him. I have witnessed his anger in discussing her finances. There are other indicators that he misuses this money and manipulates many aspects of her life; I believe she is held back from living an independent life because he wants to keep receiving the SSDI checks. She would like to move out of town, for example. Is there an agency that advocates directly for this type of situation? She needs someone to advise her correctly of her rights and help with the retaliation from her father. Is this not a case for protective services or any other resource (state of Kentucky)? She is her own legal guardian. What can you advise? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear J.M.,

      You raise multiple issues. First, your client can go to Social Security and apply to be her own payee or request a change of payee. She should take the potential new payee with her to file an application to serve as payee.

      Her father is required annually to provide an accounting of the use of the money . If she believes that her funds are being misused, she should be prepared to tell Social Security what her father is providing–housing? food? clothing? medical co-pays? personal hygiene items?–and what he is not providing.

      Your client’s benefit payment should be going to a bank account or DirectExpress card with a title of “her name by her father’s name, representative payee.” A correctly titled account means that the money belongs to your client but only her father has access to administer its use. The money should not be comingled with her father’s funds.

      I do not have any referral sources help with interpersonal dealings with her father or to help her move to independence. I suggest that you contact government agencies and non-profits in the area to see whether any can help your client or refer her to assistance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Maria

    I got SSI when I was 23 and homeless. Since then I had a few more psych evaluations which said I can’t manage money . Since then, ten years my payee gave me all my money in cash and I paid all my bills responsibly . I get cash food stamps and I handle that responsibly . I have severe anxiety and PTSD , depression and agoraphobia, plus fear of most men . I asked my doctor to say I’m capable of paying my bills and she said, don’t rock the boat, they might say you can work. WEll, I can’t work . I never have worked and I”m 54 . I have support in my landlord living next door, plus another neighbor, plus a friend to help or call if I need any type of help with bills or finances. Could i lose my benefits by SSI saying I can work since I have been able to pay by own bills. ? My payee gave me his old computer and showed me how to look at the bill and go to online bill pay and put the number in the little box. I handle my own money well,. What do you think and what do I do to be my own payee , thanks. Maria

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Maria,

      I cannot recommend an action to you; however, here are some thoughts. When a person is receiving disability benefits for a mental disability, there is always some risk in saying that you are capable of handling your own funds. It could indicate improvement. However, you could say that you have handled your own money all along, even when you had a payee, and that your condition has not improved and that your disability is not related to handling money.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Maria

        Thanks , I will try that when my payee gets back from Australia . Much appreciated your reply.One more question, this doctor of mine says she don’t feel comfortable signing the paper that says I am capable of managing my own money. Which clearly is nuts, since as i told you, I managed my own money for over 20 years . If I take my payee into ss with me , as well as letters from a former police officer and my chiropractor , and neighbors that say I can manage my own money, would that be sufficient . I also have a letter stating I have been clean from drugs since 2008 , that’s as far back as their computer goes . Also could my payee get into any kind of trouble for just giving me my mony all these years ? Thanks, Maria

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Maria,

          You may be successful in changing the benefits to your name with the evidence you plan to submit. Your current payee was not supposed to just turn the money over to you. He or she was supposed to pay your rent and utilities and take you shopping for the things you need and give you only a small portion of the money for unplanned incidentals and entertainment if the money stretches far enough. Whether or not the payee is “in trouble” depends on whether or not your needs of shelter, food, clothing, and medical care have been met.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Well i need help My mom si My payee but show
    Dosent give me monye And i have a baby she id 7
    And i have 8m whit My boyfrend And she
    Dosent give me no manye And a wthat to ke My
    Chke by My selfa what can i do plz help me

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Otilia,

      If you are age eighteen or older, you can go to Social Security and apply to be your own payee explaining why you want to. They will then make a decision about whether to grant your request. Another option is to take a adult who is willing to be your payee with you and have that person apply to receive your benefits and manage your money to pay your expenses.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Otilia

        But what if my
        boyfriend is from Mexico
        And hi dosent have papers

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Otilia,

          If your boyfriend is legally in the country, he may be allowed to be your payee.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • dave

    Hi I just I am a payee for a friend, I got them a debit card & got there ssi in the card account. There name is on the card account, do I need to have my name & there’s? If so how do I do this?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dave,

      You should be controlling your friend’s money either by establishing a bank account titled as follows: “his name by your name, representative payee” or you should request a DirectExpress debit card, which is a special form of debit card specifically for Social Security and SSI payments, and the card should show your friends name and yours as representative payee. You should not give your friend access to the debit card or account.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Julia

    My husband draws ss dis. It is put on a card each month and every month he wastes the money and won’t give it to me to pay bills .all he wants is to abuse pills and when the dr finds out they dismiss him.he has been dismissed from I believe 8 physicians . To me this is dr shopping . What can I do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Julia,

      You can apply to be payee for your husband to receive his benefits and pay for his shelter, food, medical care and other necessities before giving him spending money. A letter from one of the doctors could help indicate your husband lacks judgment to use his benefits for his basic care. However, please note that Social Security disability benefits are not paid for disabilities caused by drug addiction.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hasson R

    Hello. On August 1 my benefits stopped because apparently my payee didn’t conduct my review. I went to the office, completed a new payee interview and was appointed a new payee. I was confused because of the amount of information, and I wasn’t sure if I had understood, but am I able to get money for August or do I have to wait until September as my award letter states? I was told to wait 7 days but no one made anything clear about what my payee and I are waiting on. Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Hasson,

      I am guessing that you can expect to get the August benefit within the seven days that the representative said to wait; then your September benefit will be paid on the first of September.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michael

    Hello Kay, I am nearing sixty years old and have worked most of my life in upper-management with a considerable amount of finance and budget experience into the millions of dollars and have always managed my own finances with a very good to excellent credit score.

    I recently filed for SSDI and about 4 months later without any hearings, received a call from the SSA stating my SSDI was approved, but they required a payee. In filling out the SSDI questionnaire, myself and my wife stated I had my own banking accounts and had no problem managing my finances. I filed for SSDI due to three recent knee operations and soon to have another. Other than that, I lost a lot of my hearing and have PTSD from the military over 30 years ago. But there is nothing in my record that would even suggest my being incapable of managing my finances. The SSA relied on my VA history and my local PTSD doctor’s statement, however there is nothing in either file that indicated any problem taking care of my finances.

    I have a clean record, good financial history, bills paid, house paid for, no addictions, other than PTSD of sound mind. I drive, shop and fully capable of taking care of myself.

    The attorney that represented me stated that, by my simply asking to become my own payee, it would re-open the entire claim for re-consideration and the SSA could reverse their award.

    I am under VA care and am continuing to see a local PHD relative to the PTSD, but I am completely confident in continuing to pay my own bills and manage my finances and have done so without issue all of my life. I rely on technology and my bank’s billpay, have a budget in a spreadsheet and stay on top of my finances and always have.

    So, my questions are:

    1. Will my asking to remove my wife as payee and to manage my finances, re-open the entire claim that was apparently based more so on PTSD than my hearing loss or joint problems?

    2. Will the ability to manage my finances (which remains unchanged), and even though I have done perfectly fine all of my life, somehow now be construed to be some sort of improvement?

    3. Is the payee re-consideration request one that will only ask for re-consideration of the payee or is the entire claim placed automatically into re-consideration of some sort?

    4. I plan on reviewing my financial history, credit file and monthly budget information with my local PTSD doctor and ask that he write a statement about my ability to manage my own finances, will that help?

    5. Or am I better NOT to pursue the issue, even though it seemingly represents me as being mentally incapacitated at least to a degree in manage my finances, even though I receive a VA disability for my hearing and PTSD and have managed on a very tight budget without assistance for many years now?

    6. In reviewing the SSA regulations, I understand I can request to know what the basis was for the decision, in doing that will it potentially hinder my claim as well?

    Just to clarify, although PTSD affects my concentration and learning new complex things, interpersonal skills, my sleep and completing jobs tasks, I feel paying bills and managing money are highly learned skills, that coupled with my business and budget background, long history of managing my own finances and having a graduate degree, I do not feel my situation was properly considered.

    To me at least and from a standpoint of remaining independent this payee determinate presents a significant dilemma and one that could potentially have an adverse effect on my remaining independent into old age.

    I appreciate your reading my long-winded explanation and would sincerely appreciate your input.

    Thanks and Curious to know your thoughts.

    Bewildered Michael

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      It is true that applying to be one’s own payee can trigger a review, which could result in a finding that a person is not disabled, but the risk is not equal in all cases.

      I suggest that you contact your doctor as you suggested to discuss your capability. If the doctor is willing to write a statement that you are capable of managing money, the statement should include the basis for his opinion (clinical observation and past handling of money) and also a statement that your being able to handle your own money has no bearing on your inability to work. After you have the letter that is tailored to your specific situation, show it to your attorney for his or her opinion about submitting it, and if so when.

      If you do decide to submit the letter, one option is to wait until your payments have started. If you submit the letter now, it could send the claim back to the Disability Determination Services for review of their decision. If you submit the letter after benefits have started, usually the local office will evaluate the information received and a local office claims representative will make a decision based on what you submit. With regard to getting a copy of the claim file, you do have the right to do that and the file would include the decision memo showing the reasons for approval. That said, it could take a very long time to receive it. Also, if you request it before you are paid, the processing of your claim for payment may be delayed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ashton

    I’m 16 and I recieve Social Security Disability as both of my parents are on it, and the state gives me some as well due to that. However, my mom kicked me out and she’s my payee, and none of the money is going to me. Is there anything I can do to change this- even if I need another payee (such as a family friend, maybe? Who is it possible to make your payee?) And does my mother have any right to keep my benefits? (I’m still in school and plan to be until I’m 18, as well as have a part time job, if that changes anything.)

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashton,

      Your mother should be using your benefits to care for you even if you are not living with her. Given that relations are apparently strained between you, I suggest that you go to a Social Security office as soon as possible, preferably with a relative or family friend who is over eighteen and who is willing to be your payee and whom you trust not to misuse your funds. Tell them what you told me, including your plan to remain in school. The adult can file to be your payee. You also need to report that you are working. You can earn $15,480 per year before it starts affecting your Social Security benefits. You also need to report the change in residence to the state office that is providing assistance and see if you can have the same payee for their assistance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Juanita

    Hello,

    I was wondering if maybe you can make some sense to all this.
    First off my husband finally SS Disability under his dad (who died when he was young, because he was disabled before he became of age 22). I have already got the award letter stating that his first monthly payment will be $993 and this is the benefit his is due for July. The letter also said that he will get his monthly payments on or before the 3rd of every month.

    Now my question is, is that does this mean he will get his benefits august 1st (since the third is on a weekend) and also he called our local SS office and they said he needed a payee, but NONE of the paper we have states he needs one.

    So my other question is, does he need a payee if the paper doesn’t say so, and if he does need a payee will they withhold his benefits until he gets the payee rep established.

    Thank you again for you time and understanding, Juanita

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Juanita,

      Before I respond to your questions, I’d like to address an important issue. Unless you are receiving disabled adult child benefits yourself, to my knowledge, your husband is not eligible for disabled adult child benefits beginning with the month he got married. If you are not eligible for disabled adult child benefits, he needs to tell Social Security that he is married and double check that he is eligible for ongoing benefits after marriage. (They will want to see his marriage certificate.)

      If your husband was approved at a hearing, the judge’s letter would say whether or not he has to have a payee. If that is not the case, I suggest that your husband ask Social Security to double check that the Disability Determination Services recommended a payee. If in fact, it has been determined he needs a payee, then he has the right to appeal that decision. He can either appeal formally or simply file to be his own payee after payments have started. To support his request, it would be a good idea to have a letter from his physician that says he is capable of managing his own money. Usually initial monthly payments are not held up for appointment of a payee, but back pay might be.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Juanita

        Dear Kay,

        To your first question his decision paper just states:
        claim for: Child disability benefits

        Now as to the other part, it is now the first of the month and he did not receive anything. This is what the award let states.

        “We are writing to let you know that you are entitled to monthly child’s benefits from SS beginning July 2011
        ~your first payment is for $993
        ~This is the money you are due through July 2014
        ~After that yo will receive 1,200 on or about the third of each month.

        Now with that all said I understand he does get the benefits after he gets married, but we been married for 2 years and they know this but yet they are telling us this. Also the letter says his past-due benefits are for July 2011 through may 2014. If it stopped at marriage then why did he get this letter. (btw, our local office said they same thing as you, but the award letter goes against all that is said)

        Also after all this information why has he not got it all yet???

        I am VERY frustrated with this WHOLE stupid process.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Juanita,

          The letter appears to be in error regarding continuing benefits. Your husband needs to take the letter to the office and remind them of the date you got married and ask them to double check that ongoing benefits are not set up for payment. If they are, he needs to return any he gets. The July 2014 date in the letter just means that the back pay was calculated in July and everything due up to then is in the one check. (It seems as if his back pay could have been larger given that you were not married until 2012, so he might inquire about that also.)

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  • ashley

    My garndmother is my payee for ssi I’m 20 yeara old if I try to be my own payee would they close my case

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      If you are receiving benefits based on a mental disability and your doctor says you are capable of managing your own benefits, it could raise the question of whether your health has improved to the point that you are no longer disabled.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Nicole

    I’m the payee for my son. He is mad at me now and wants to be his own payee. Can he do that? Plus has told me he gonna get me in trouble with ssa. He was gonna tell then I misuse his money. Can he do that? What will they do to me?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicole,

      My remarks are based on the assumption that your son is of age. Your son can apply to be his own payee. He may or may not be approved. Similarly, there is nothing to stop him from making misuse allegations. If you have not misused his funds and have kept receipts or other records to show all the money was spent for his food, shelter, clothing, medical and personal care needs, entertainment, etc., then you have nothing to worry about. If you think that he should not be his own payee because he would not take care of his basic needs, you can go to Social Security and tell them that.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Nicole

    Thank You Kay for your response:)
    I was attempting to come up with a logical formula to appropriately divide the funds! I appreciate your feedback/approval!
    *Just a side note when I mentioned Truck payment earlier I was referring to his OWN vehicle since he will be turning 16 soon!. We would never (and its illegal) spend the funds on anything but what is specified by SSA.
    Great forum & great of you to help us all out!
    Thanks again!!!
    good to know where to find you if i need you:):)

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Nicole, and thanks for the clarification.

      Kay

  • Keisha townsel

    im waiting on a decsion from the judge i called the 18007721213 no they ask me was i the payee? Why did they ask me that question am i approved?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Keisha,

      The only reason I can think of your being asked if you are the payee is if you were calling regarding a claim for a minor child. Try calling the hearing office for a status; they will have more detailed information about where you are in the process of getting a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Nicole

    Hi Kay
    Ive checked with SSA and an Attorney on this but you too seem like an expert so wanted to ask you as well…
    My husband recently became the representative payee for his 15 year old son / my step son who receives a benefit until age 18.
    As I was looking at how to itemize food and housing this is what I came up with. If our mortgage is 3K and six people live in the home then it is costing approx $500/month per person to live here. If our groceries are $1200 a month then it is costing $200 a person for food. same with all utilities etc. in addition to cell phone, truck expenses, car insurance etc.
    I wanted to make sure when we fill out the accounting paperwork that I am approaching it correctly? I can put $500 month housing $200 month food etc etc
    *is it a problem or negative to go over the allotted monthly amount? should i try and make it match the amount exactly?
    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicole,

      Before I respond I would like to clarify one point: Am I correct in assuming that your stepson is receiving Social Security dependent benefits and not Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Nicole

        YES…you are correct
        his mother is on social security disability, therefore my stepson receives a dependent benefit.
        we have full custody and therefore we are representative payee
        thanks:)

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Nicole,

          Because your stepson is receiving Social Security dependents benefits, there is no specific amount of his benefits that must be used for shelter and food costs. That said, thinking of his share of those expenses is a logical way to approach the question of how much of his benefits to apply to those costs. His benefit should also be used for clothing, haircuts, medical and dental care, school supplies and fees, and some entertainment and an appropriate allowance if possible. Those things would come first before using his funds to pay for other family purchases such a car payment.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

      • Kitty

        If the child was on SSI, would Nichole’s method be the way one should figure it?
        As an example: 3 are in the house and the rent is $600 and electric bill $300.
        Would the payee use the beneficiary funds to pay $200 of the rent and $100 of the electric bill?
        What about the food bill if the child, between school and weekend visits with the father, eat only only 5 meals a week at the house?
        And how would it be different before, vs after, the child turns 18? (which happens shortly)

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kitty,

          If a child receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) lives with two other people including his mother and the shelter expenses are $900, his share is $300. The payee should pay $300. If they all share food, his share would be one-third of the food cost.If you want to be very precise, you could in theory determine that the child eats there only 22 days average in a month, figure the daily food bill for everyone, divide by three and multiply by 22 to get the child’s share. Then the payee could give the father the daily rate for the child times 8 days to cover the child’s food while the child is with his or her father. The child’s share doesn’t change upon turning eighteen.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Laura

    Can my father-in-law’s Social Security payment be used for his current wife’s medical expenses or is it only to be used for his medical expenses.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laura,

      If your father-in-law receives his benefits in his own name, then he can use the money for whatever he wants. If the benefits are being paid to a representative payee, then the benefits cannot be used for his wife’s medical bills.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Laura

        Thank you. Laura

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Laura.

  • Courtney Jones

    Hi I have been getting. SDI since age 3 and i hsve a payee what is thhe form that i need to obtain for my doctor to fillout so u want have a payee anymore

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Courtney,

      There is no specific form for your doctor to complete. If you are age eighteen or older and if your doctor agrees that you are capable of directing the use of your benefits so that your housing, food, and medical needs are paid for before buying other things, then he can just write a letter to that effect. You can then take the letter to Social Security and apply to be your own payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Juni roberson

    hello i receve my ssibwhen went i was 19 year old my mother become my payee behine my back when i receve a lump sum check my spend money i decided have my money dirct deposit into my account my mother did not have nothing to do with my money i make my decide to tell her how was enter into my accout when i call the administ office have remove ask my payee and they become investegate i do not need a payee, now because she my payee in 2002 i had a son whobis disabity now and i want to become his payee, become his payee when bankurpy late year she use his money for her bill my son goes to day care down the street from my house i have job which i have for 17 year i take care of my son my question is can i become my so payee and remove my mother from being his payee she does not pay not his bill my son day care is 88 a week, he had a denitis bill and i take care of all of these spent on my income what should i do i want become my son payee i want to teach him how have chevking account how pay his bill.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Juni,

      You can go to the Social Security Administration office and apply to be payee for your son. Explain your reasons for wanting to be his payee and why you do not want your mother to be his payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Hello again
    My husbands grandfather went behind my back and took me off as the payee and now I am not even getting my childrens monthly checks. My husband was put into an instituion for 38 days and the day he was released his grandfather swithced payees. Kenny gets 1341.00 I got 241.00 and each child got 241.00. Kenny and i have 2 minor children. So on the direct express card only one check for 241.00 was posted. Mquestion is am i not going to get my kids checks anymore? And why was a check for 241.00 only deposited?
    Also when kenny and his grandfather start getting kennys check under his grandfather are my girls’ money now going to them?
    Kenny is vwry mental and anyone can talk him into anything. I talked to his grandfather and he said he cannot do this(meaning taking care od kenny). His grandfather just wants kennys and my girls money.
    I want to take my husband down to social swcurity and switch it back to me. His grandfather has stolen money from neighbors and forged his attornies signature before. He just wants the money.
    Can I cancel his grandfather and put me back?

    1)I would like to know if their first check they get if my girls money is going to be included.
    2)Can I take my husband back to ss office and get me put back on as the payee?
    3)If I cant get back on as the payee, should I go to child support?
    4)Is his grandfather getting a check like I was getting because he is now the payee?
    5)I want to fight this entire situation. Where do i begin?
    Thank you, stacy

    I have prood that kenny can be talked into anything. The fitness club talked kenny into a 550.00 a month membership, not 550.00 a year but 550.00 a month. I have the receipts of cancellation on that situation.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stacy,

      My guess is that the girls’ benefits have either been suspended while a decision is being made about who should be payee or they have been switched to a new payee. If the children are in your care, you should be receiving the benefits for them. As far as Kenny’s benefits, your best approach is to go to Social Security and explain everything you have told me to them and either apply to be his payee or suggest a different third party, such as an agency, to be his payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Pennsylvania fiance

    Hi my fiance has a company as a payee because when he was younger his aunt who was his payee stole his checks and went to florida, we are from lackawanna county pa and he was young like 8 and had no choice! and he wants to have me as his payee how can we go about this and to add we have a child and im our daughters payee. how can i go about helping him out and being his payee? please help and thank you in advance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pennsylvania Fiance,

      If your finance lives with you or near you, you can go to the Social Security Administration and file an application to be his payee. It could be helpful to have him go with you and make a statment that he would like you to serve as payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • someone

    Can someone become a payee if they are unemployed but looking for work?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Someone,

      Being unemployed is not an impediment to being a payee for someone else as long as the prospective unemployed payee has savings to support himself or has another family member or friend supporting him. He cannot use any of the Social Security or SSI recipient’s money for himself.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • texas smith

    If I received benefits and I.had an appointment and had to turn in paper work in so many days and I.did so why would they suspend my case and how long wilk it take for then to unsuspend my case please some one help me out

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Texas,

      You need to contact Social Security to make sure that the representative handling your claim is aware that you submitted the paperwork on time. Perhaps it has been mislaid.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • melissa johnson

    My Fiance benefits go on a card with his sister name on it. He wants to change it to my name or change his benefits to be direct deposit to a bank. And is it to late to suspend payment for July. What can we do to get this change quickly before July payment goes through.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      Usually changes have to be reported about twelve days before the date the payment is usually made; however, you and your fiance can contact Social Security now to see if a suspension can still occur. If the benefit is put in your name, it can still go to a bank account if you open an account with the title “Your Fiance’s Name by Your Name, Representative Payee.” Only you will have access to the account, but the account title shows it is your fiance’s money.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Carrie Hamer

    Dear Kay Derochie, My 89 year old father is the representative payee for my alcoholic 57 year old sister. He wants his name to be taken off her checks and no longer be her payee. The check comes to my parents home in both my sister & my dad’s name. How do we get his name off her checks?
    Thank You.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carrie,

      Someone else in the family needs to apply to be payee for your sister by going to the Social Security office. I suggest taking a statement from your father in which he states his age and his request to be removed as payee. Note, to be eligible for benefits, your sister has to be disabled from something other than alcoholism.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Susan H.

    Hi,
    I am a social worker and work with a disabled client who gets SSD. She also lives with her boyfriend who gets SSD. The boyfriend handles both of their benefits, but does not pay the bills. They are often behind on rent, utility bills, and run out of food often. Myself and the client’s family members believe he is mishandling the money and my client willingly lets him handle her money. My question is how do I have SSA look into assigning a rep payee for both of them? Can I do this without having a SS# for the boyfriend? I am not sure what the process is and how to go about starting it. Thank you for any help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susan,

      The Social Security Administration will appoint a representative payee only if they have received medical information that the beneficiary is not capable of directing the use of his or her own benefits. Perhaps as your client’s social worker, you could counsel your client to either handle her own funds or allow you to be payee so that the rent and utilities are paid on time and food is purchased.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Hello. Its Stacy again. Just wanted add a bit more. Kenny (my husband) is very easily infuenced. Anyone can talk him into giving them money. So I know his evil Grandparents are planning something. They are broke and they are always trying to borrow money from people. I just need to know what my next steps should be. I do want a divorce but I would still be willing to help kenny because no one else has his best interest. Please help. Thank you, stacy

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stacy,

      Please see my two previous replies.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Dani

    Hi,

    My grandmother has a really bad gambling addiction and doesn’t pay her bills. I was appointed her payee at one point. She made this decision voluntarily. She went back to SS on her own a year later and requested she become her own payee again. She is not capable of making decisions about her bills, as all of her utilities have been cut off and she has eviction court in a few days. Can I go to SS and request to be her payee again or does she have to volunteer?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dani,

      You can apply to be her payee. Explain your reasons for intervening and perhaps you will be made payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Hello
    My husband since 1995 has been diagnosed w/ Schzophrenia, Bipolar and Paranoia Personality Disorder. I am his payee and have two minor children with him. He has been put in the Insane 3x and the last stay was gor 28days. I had to put a restraining order on him because he was going to kill us for sure and our upstairs neigjbors. I have temp restraining order on him. He is now out of the insane house & living with his Grandparents. They only let him live with them so they can take his momey. My kids and i ea get a 241.00 ch and he gets 1341.00. The day he got released they went to ss office and they had no record of my husband. They do not care about his well being just want his money. Can they somehow take me off as payee without my knowing and stop the checks from coming to my kids and I? Or what should i do? Should i not do anything? If i divorce him what are my kids and i entitled to? I have no job I was taking care of him full time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stacy,

      Please see my reply to your other posting. You will continue to receive your benefit and your children’s benefits as long as you have them in your care even if your husband’s benefit is paid to another payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Levi

    Hi,
    I am on SSDI and I have a rep payee through a city in ME. I am currently in the process of moving to different state. I feel like I can handle my own expenses and accounts. My question is should I try to become my own payee first or move my SSDI benefits to my new state? I am living in a very rural area now that doesn’t have an Social Security office…..the closest one is 45 minutes away….

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Levi,

      I suggest that you attempt to become your own payee before you move so that you can consult with your physician and possibly get a letter in support of your ability to handle your own funds.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • i was just wondering how could i be my own payee is there something i can do over the computer

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jackie,

      You cannot apply online to be your own payee. I suggest that you talk to your physician or therapist about your being your own payee. If the medical provider thinks you can handle your benefits in your own best interests, get a statement from the provider and take it to a Social Security office and file a payee application.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • Alonzo

    I’m 18 in Omaha, Nebraska where you aren’t considered a legal adult until the age of 19 and I receive SSI checks every month due to my fathers death. I’m not disabled in any way and I can manage money on my own. When I first received the form to get the checks my mom told me that I would be in control of the money but I think she assumed it would be a small amount because the form said it would be based on my fathers life earnings or something and since he was imprisoned almost my entire life I think she,like me, assumed it would be maybe 50 bucks a month but it turned out to be 320. After seeing the first check in July of last year she changed her mind and I haven’t seen another since. I dont think she’s misusing the money necessarily but I think it would be better served being put in a savings account for college in the fall.I RARELY need to visit the doctor and take no meds so the money isnt needed for medical reasons. She doesnt buy me clothes or accessories and the only food in the house is geared towards my younger siblings( large amounts of hotdogs and cereal). I feel the money isn’t being used toward me like its supposed to. I also think she’s only using it to pay her house bills(electric and water) which I wouldn’t mind if she would just tell me. I just want to know what she’s doing with the money at least. My questions are for one, is she required to ask me what my needs are and two is there a way for me to take her off from being my payee? I normally dont care about money but I have absolutely no way to pay for groceries, clothes, transportation,etc. when I get to college and I dont want her in control of it when I’m gone.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alonzo,

      Your Social Security survivor benefits for dependent children are paid to age eighteen or to age nineteen if you are still in high school. No benefits are paid while you are in college.

      If you are still in high school and age eighteen, you can apply to be your own payee. If that is successful, it would be appropriate for you to give you mother some of the check for rent and utilities and keep some for your food. If she remains your payee, perhaps you can have a discussion with her about use of the money and your food and other needs.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Juan perez

    If I get approved for ssdi and need a representative payee appointed by ss would I even see the money or would my payee directly pay everything how exactly does that work I can’t take money out fir any reason without approval from my payee??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Juan,

      If you are appointed a payee, you will not have access to the bank account or DirectExpess card to which it is paid. The payee should pay your rent, utilities, bus pass, and anything that is a monthly payment. At the payee’s discretion, the payee might either give you a week’s worth of food money at a time or take you grocery shopping. Same with the purchase of clothing. Assuming that there are funds left after your basic needs are met, the payee could give you a modest amount of spending money each week or month.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Brittney

    I am in the process of becoming the payee for my husband’s nephew. My question is…how do I pay his bills/rent when the time comes? The money will be direct deposited into an account. What do most payees do to pay the bills for the beneficiary?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brittany,

      You should pay for everything possible directly to the person or company owed. Pay the landlord and utility companies directly. Buy him a disabled person’s bus pass or tickets, if he needs to use the bus.If he needs assistance grocery shopping, you would do that for him. If not, I would suggest providing only one week’s grocery money at a time. If there is money available, give him a small amount of spending money to do with as he pleases. If could be good to have him sign a receipt for the cash.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Kitty

        If

        If the beneficiariy is living with the a couple and only owes $133 out of a $400 rent bill, does the payee write the check for the $133 rent straight to the landlady, or is it written to the signer of the rent contract who is paying the rest of the rent?
        For instance, if he is living with John Smith, who is renting from Midtown Rental Properties for $400 a month, is the $133 chek written to john smith or to Midtown Rntal Properties?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kitty,

          If the rental company knows the beneficiary is living in the residence and his name is on the rental agreement, the check should be written to Midtown Rental. If not, then the check would probably best be written to John Smith so as not to potentially upset the rental situation. If you have reason to believe the rent won’t be paid and you pay John Smith, you might ask for proof that the rent is being paid each month. Say you need it to prove you are covering the beneficiary’s housing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • valerie wible

    Question: I have just become the guardian of my 66 year old cousin who lives in a group home in another state. I need to get his mothers name removed from his SS checks as representative payee and replaced with mine. The paperwork making me guardian is already in place. How do I get the name changed so that I can write his checks ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Valerie,

      Just go to the Social Security Administration with the guardianship papers and apply to be your cousin’s payee. Social Security is not bound by the guardianship ruling, but they will consider it as evidence that you may be the best choice to be his payee. Be prepared to explain how you will be able to care for your cousin’s needs while he lives in a different state.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Ashley

    My question is if someone is 15years old and receiving survivor benefits are they able to pick who they want to be there payee in the state of Texas? His grandmother who he lives with misuses it by spending it on herself and not him.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      The fifteen-year-old beneficiary or anyone else can report misuse of funds and suggest a different payee. However, before deciding that misuse of funds is going on, consider that the Social Security benefits should first be used for housing costs, food, medical care, and school supplies before other things. There is a possibility that all the young person’s benefits are going for those things.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Andra

    HELLO MS. KAY,
    On May 5, I gained full/sole, physical and legal custody of my children but the father is the payee for my son’s ssi/ssp benefits. I went through the necessary steps and showed all paperwork that proves they live with me except the actual custody papers b/c I am still awaiting them to come in the mail. They suspended May’s check. I also mailed them a letter updating them on the status of the paperwork along with my son’s updated IEP. How long can they keep my application pending, and will they keep my son’s payments suspended as long as they have the proof he is not living with the father.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Andra,

      If Social Security requires the full custody papers to change the payee, they will keep the benefits suspended until they receive the paperwork. You might be able to speed things up by having your son’s father write a statement saying that he no longer has custody and supports your becoming payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Andra

        Thank you Kay…

        • Kay Derochie

          Your are welcome, Andra.

  • Raven

    If it 4 days before 1st when Im apost get my SSI. If i feel my payee misusing my ssi money, can i have them stop payment that fast, or is it a process? Or is it to late to do so? I am asking for a friend.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Raven,

      It is too late to stop the payment this month. You can, however, talk to Social Security about who will be your payee for the July 1 check. You have plenty of time for that. Be prepared to tell Social Security specifically why you think your funds are being misused and who would be a better payee for you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Nicole

    My fiancé has a payee, he wants to make me his payee however I am in the middle of getting a house. My lender said that it would be best to wait until after closing before he makes me his payee. My fiancé just moved with me to Tennessee. His current payee lives in GA. Is it ok for his payee to live in a different state?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicole,

      Your being your fiance’s payee should have no bearing on your finances. If you become his payee, you would set up a bank account with the title, “Fiance’s name by your name, representative payee.” This would show that the money (the bank account) belongs to your finance and that you not he has access to it [to use for his benefit].

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • Ms gary

    Thanks soo much Ms Kay for writing me back I will let u know how things turn out as soon as I go to the appt. Thanks again.

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Ms. Gary.

  • Ms gary

    Dear Michele
    How are u. I have a sister who has been trying to get disability for over 6 years. I have been the sole provider, mentor and person of contact for her attorneys and ssi. My sister has been diagnosed as having severe mental illness as well as severe drug and alchohol abuse. I have been taking care of her for over eleven years. Oftentimes my sister gets the urge to leave due to her mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse. So when she leaves it oftentimes leaves me clueless to her whereabouts. But when she comes back she is usually penniless and dirty hungry and has not taken her meds or nothing for her health. I like always ask where she was when she returns usually a couple of werks later and she might state here or there. She may call and I call the number back and my call is usually sent straight to voicemail. Once she asked for me to come pick her up bc she was ready to come home and do right and I found the conditions of the dwelling very unsanitary and inhumane. Now the persons house she was at and seems to be there often is a disabled person who has a payee. And at this place is where the drugs and alchohol are asy to get. So she commented to me oneday that my rules are to strict and basically wants her payee to be whoever the other disabled adults payee is. That hurt more than u can imagine. After all these years of taking care of her and she says this. About two weeks ago ssi ordered her to go to an interview with a mental health specialist provided by ssi administration ofcourse. I made sure she had bus fair and detailed instructions on how to get there. I was not able to make it due prior arrangements that I had promised to adhere to. U guessed it she went to the evaluation but never came home. For a week I searched for her and from out of nowhere she calls from the phone number and peoples house who I told u about earlier. And tells me this story and how she is on her way home. I guess the people brought her bc she got there pretty fast and she came in and said to me that she has to leave and help the other people do something. So she left and I haven’t heard anything from her or them. Yesterday I got a call from the local disability office. She askrd for me and her I told her I was who she was asking for. She asked me if I had received any mail from them recently I told her no and she was just like ur sister was approved for the ssi but she needs a rep payee and if I would do that for her I said yes I have been doing it for over 11 years. So she was like come to the local ssi office and she needs to come also. And present your ids so we can get this matter over with. So right now she is m.i. a. And I am just like how do I prove that clearly the peoples and payee that she may want to appoint are contributing to her her disability instead of helping her If I do not find her before the appointment her attorney advised me that she will not be eligible to receive the payments. I really think they are manipulating her bc the other persons payee knows she has a severe mental ddisability. Even if I do not find her I am still going to the appt to make sure they know what is going on with this other payee. I also wanted to send a letter to ssi before the appointment date letting them know what is going on. I would rather her be in a group home or mental institution before the other payee takes advantage. Is there anyway to get the ssi administration to make a favorable decision for me to be payee and as I was and still am the only person who has her best interest at heart. What do u suggest that I do in this kind of situation.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ms. Gary,

      I think that your solution is the best, that is, to attend the appointment with the Social Security Administration (SSA) even if your sister is missing. You can explain the pattern that her mental illness takes her through–in and out of your home–and the undesirable situations she chooses to put herself in. In the meantime, you could try to put out the word on your sister’s grapevine that she has been approved and there is money to be received if she comes home and goes with you to SSA. That might draw her home. You cannot be assured of how it all will turn out, but you will have done what you can. I do not believe that your sister’s claim will not be denied if her whereabouts are unknown, but payment will be suspended until she presents herself to Social Security.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • John Johnson

    TKay! My son was diagnosed with learning disabilties, and the specialist told my girlfriend who is his mother that he is eligible for ssi. The doctors have already fillef out the paperwork and all that has to be done is the application, here thr problem! My gitlfriend and i live together. I work and she does not but takes care oof our son. Because of her past she has two felonies, one concern child endangerment, which i knew nothing abour until our son was born and protective services come putting under scrutiny for over a year. Finally i was awarded total custody of the child, because of my work schedule she gets him to his doctors appointments and things, but i feel that when she applies for the benefits for our son, she also will try to make herself thepayee as well which i dont think is a good idea.
    She had had her parental rights taken away for her other children and she really shouldnt be in my living there, my question is will the ssi agency check to find out who the,legal guardian of our son is before they make her the payee to hid benefits? Or will they require me to be they payer? Do they check into the persons background? I care about her but she is not responsible when it comes to handling money! Please give me good news! Lol

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      I recommend that you apply to be payee for your son if he is approved for benefits. You can simply say that his mother is not responsible when it comes to handling money and you that have full custody of your child and the child lives with you as well as his mother. Social Security will not do a background investigation.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Shaun

        Hi Kay. My mother is the rep-payee for my wife and myself. We recently moved to NH and my mom still lives in MA, the question I have is that we have applied for food stamps and NH care but we’re told we had to report our changes in MA and get it changed. We have done that twice now and SS still has not made thosechanges, and it was done 3 months ago. The SS office is a zoo and we have to wait for hours and none of us wants to go through that again, is there a specific person that we can contact to get this done or someone we could complain to? We have 4 kids and are limited financially so we ate trying to get extra help but keep getting the runaround. Thank you in advance.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Shaun,

          What you have written is confusing to me. If you are applying at a state office for food stamps and “NH Care,” which I assume is medical are, then I would assume that you would be dealing with state social services offices and not a Social Security office; however, if you are in an area where both of these benefits can be handled through a Social Security office, you should be able to report all the changes in New Hampshire, at your new servicing office. (Surely, they don’t expect someone moving from California to NH to have to go back to California to report changes.) I suggest that you go to New Hampshire Social Security office and try again to report the new address and changes there. If they refuse again, ask to speak to a supervisor. Then politely explain the situation of having reported as requested in Massachusetts with no result and ask the NH office to take responsibility for processing the changes.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Tiffany

    Hi! My brother in law recently left his fathers to come live with his brother, Neice & myself I am his sister in law. He is 19 he recieves dis-ability for spinabifida . His dad is his payee & does not give him his money. Infact in the 5 years I have known this Family my father in law has not used this young mans check for anything for him such as clothing shoes etc & no it does not get spent on bills he has drug issues etc (father in law) anyways he now lives with us he has needs & does need his check my question is what is the best way to go about it? Make him his own payee? Or maybe my husband? He is a fairly responsible young man no mental issues a bit immature I suppose but since he lives with us & has agreed on a set amount we have full faith in him that he will pay that first thing & that amount is his shelter expenses everything but personal items & clothing etc. also I was wondering if him living here with us would effect us getting benefits like SNAP or my daughters insurance witch here in tennessee is Tenncare?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tiffany,

      As soon as possible, either your brother-in-law should file an application at Social Security to be his own payee or your husband should file to be payee for him. If your brother-in-law wishes to be his own payee, then a letter from his physician about his mental capability would be helpful. Check with your SNAP office to find out whether the financial arrangement you have planned for adding your brother-in-law to the household affects your family’s SNAP eligibility and/or your daughter’s insurance.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Michele Smith

    18yrs ago i was aproved to draw disability i was labeled a disabled child under the age of 18 because my disability started as a child but i wasnt given a choice on whether i wanted to manage my own money or have a payee i was told i had to have a payee i do have a learning disability caused from my epilepsy an at the time i had a hard time counting money but my learning disability wasnt bad enough i couldnt learn took me 3yrs to learn but i did well 12 yrs later my payee moved away an ive had to manage my own money as well as my husbands (he has the same payee) my payee would give me our money to pay our bills my payee eventually put our checks on a debit card an gave me the card ive been doing very well what i want to know do i have grounds to take control of my own check an be payee of my husbands check(he cant manage money so he did need a payee) i know i would need a physian stating im capable but would that be enough to be abled to do both i draw ssi an social security an my husband draws social security

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michele,

      To be your own payee and payee for your husband, you need to file payee applications, one for yourself and one for your husband’s benefits. To support your application, you could make a statement that you have in effect been managing your own money for some time and that you have been able to do so due to your three-year effort to learn to count money. A letter from your physician stating that you are capable of managing money would be helpful to your application.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Stacey d

    Hi. I’ve recently been awarded ssd after 5 years of fighting for it. The judge said I need a representative payee. I asked my sister to do it. Her husband told her if she agrees it will affect his ssd. Is this true or is she just making excuses to not do it? If she won’t do it what am I to do? I don’t have anyone else. My daughter lives in another state? Can she do it? I’m desperate. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m afraid if I appeal the need for a payee I won’t get my ssd.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stacey,

      Your brother-in-law’s Social Security (or Supplemental Security Income, if he receives it also) will not be affected by your sister serving as your payee. Your money would be deposited to an account that showed the money belonged to you, not your sister and that she only administers it. Your sister may not be making excuses. It could just be that your brother-in-law is not correctly informed, which he isn’t.

      If your sister does not agree to be your payee, you could ask your daughter. If she is willing, Social Security might make her payee if she agrees to pay your rent and utilities and medical bills directly to the appropriate parties and perhaps by you a buspass once a month. She could then perhaps send you money for food and personal care items once a week, so the money lasts throughout the month.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • MR.WONDER

    I HAVE A PAYEE BECAUSE OF MY CEREBRAL PALSY, AN HE HAS BEEN OKAY THE FIRST YEAR THAT HE HAS BEEN SO.SSA SENT A LETTER HOME SAYING THAT HE IS NOT GOING TO BE IT NO MORE, BUT HE DIDN’T DO NOTHING WRONG, I DON’T WANT ANOTHER PAYEE,I WANT HIM TO STILL BE.WHAT CAN I DO?SHOULDN’T I BE ABLE TO HAVE A SAY SO,THE LAST WORDS MEANS IT’S MY CHECK?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mr. Wonder,

      Social Security cannot force someone to be your payee. Perhaps you can talk with the payee and tell him how much you appreciate him and ask whether there is any possibility of his continuing to service as your payee. Ask whether you have in any way made it difficult for him to be your payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • ajb

    Kay If I cant find a payee as recommended by the judge I was told they will go forward and send me a list of agencies that would help but they would go ahead and start and continue to send my benifits untill its decided in my name is that true as well they will send my back pay in my name untill i decide who i want as the payee. Is this true? thank u

  • Erick Miller

    Dear Kay, I am the Father of a disabled 18 year old young man who was just recently approved for SSI benefits. After a deternination interview with an appointed Doctor, I was named the representative of the account. My son lives with me here at home with my wife and our younger minor son. Yesterday, we received his first live US Govt check, which was made out in ‘my name’ FOR ‘my sons’ name. We went to the bank to open a new account as directed by the SSA but were told by the bank that we needed more proof that I was the representative before we could open the new account. I provided all of the documents the SSA gave us during the interview we had a few weeks ago to the bank, yet they refused to open the new account. Since I am not his legal guardian in the eyes of the court, what kind of document should I request from the SSA over the phone to fulfill this request and get the check deposited? Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Erick,

      It appears that the person you spoke with at the bank was not knowledgeable about Social Security representative payees. Most banks are and accept the check as proof. I wonder if the problem was how you were trying to open the account. The account title has to be “Erick Last Name for your son’s name,” which shows that the account belongs to your son, but only you have access to the funds. If you were previously trying to open an account in your name, that might be the problem. If you do not wish to try a different bank or different bank employee,it sounds as if you will need a letter from the Social Security Administration that states you are properly receiving and managing your son’s benefits as his representative payee. Either visit the local Social Security office or call the national call center at 1-800-772-1213, explain the situatio, and request proof.

      Best regards,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • ms. walker

    Hi I am a payee of a minor child SSI benefits because she has a speech disability, I would like to know if I wanted to apply for SSI myself coild I still be payee for my daughter because my claim would be for anxiety & depression.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ms. Walker,

      You could continue to be payee for your daughter as long as the approval of your claim did not include the recommendation that you have a payee. If Social Security determined that you needed a payee to manage your own benefits, you would not be able to continue to be payee for your child. Note that diagnoses of depression and anxiety do not necessarily mean you can’t handle money.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Michelle

    I had a friend made payee but my daughter does all books and keeps all receipts for everything. The payee went without my knowledge and shut my account down that showed Jane Doe payee for me and is there anything I can do because she has hurt me today is the 30th my check hits the third so what kind of action may I take against her for no notification nor keeping up with anything.
    Please help
    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michelle,

      I am assuming that your friend/payee has not set up another account and notified Social Security of the new account. My response is based on that assumption.I don’t know whether there is time or not, but contact Social Security to see if they can suspend payment of the direct deposit until another account or DirectExpress card is set up. Also, you could talk to them about changing payees. Is your daughter of age, so that she could be the payee?

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Michelle

        Yes my daughter is and what the x-friend did was shut the account down days before it was to be deposited in no notice no nothing so they switched my daughter to payee but what can I do about her not giving notice and leaving me out in the cold. Can I file on her?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Michelle,

          Because it would seem that your ex-friend does not have any of your Social Security benefits, I do not believe Social Security would take any action against her. As far as other legal actions, you would have to consult an attorney for advice.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  • Gidget H.

    After being on SSDI for a while, having a representative payee, am working with the Disability Assistive Services (DARS) to obtain training & then return to work. I have had a setback ( I was recently attacked in a Walmart parking lot, I filed a report but have not told DARS), but am determined to find work & be productive. I have had a recent psych evaulation & DARS own psychiatrist determined that although still suffering from my mental illness I can return to work as well as my own psychiatrist determined the same thing. My questions are: 1. I want to get rid of my payee & become my own payee, do I get documentation from the recent psych evaulation or my own doctor, or let them get in touch with DARS? 2. Can Social Security re-evaulate my eligibility with a medical review (even though am working w/DARS) & find me ineligable for benefits if they find am able to return to work, terminating my benefits, or can they terminate or suspend my benefits until they make a determination regarding my payee status. I’m scared, I don’t need this stress of worry. I just want to be able to handle the benefits, find a job, & maintain my mental illness…. Please help me by answering these questions, asap!!!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gidget,

      If you have a Social Security ticket to work and are attempting to return to work through a rehabilitation program, under some circumstances, Social Security will not conduct a medical examination to determine whether you have recovered medically/mentally. You will be able to avail yourself of the Social Security trial work period and extended period of disability once you start working. If you do not have a ticket to work, contact Social Security to obtain one as any disabled person who wants one can get one.

      To become your own payee, I recommend getting a letter from your own psychiatrist saying you are capable of handling your own funds even though you continue to suffer from your mental illness.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • Aggie

    If a representative payee is also the mother of the beneficiary, is it possible(in certain situations) for her(the mother) to be entitled to some of her adult child’s SSI benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Aggie,

      If the adult child is receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income), no additional benefits are available for a parent providing care. On the other hand, if the adult child is receiving disabled adult child Social Security benefits on the earnings record of a parent, the other parent may be eligible for young wife’s or young surviving wife’s benefits. The parent does not have to be the representative payee, but the parent does have to have the disabled adult child in her care.

      Whether or not the adult child is getting SSI or disabled adult child Social Security benefits, the payee/mother is not entitled to any of the adult child’s benefits. All benefits must be used for the adult child’s benefit, beginning with shelter, food, and medical care and extending to clothing, personal care items and if any is left some recreation.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Karen Lopez

    I have a problem with my mother handling my money I have had been dealing with her to give me part of the money all these 13 years I been stressing how she be wasting half all my benefits in her other kids also i am a bipolar person and i belive i can handle my own money how can i get my mom to get removed as my payee and be my own payee

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      If you are age eighteen or older you can apply to be your own payee. I recommend that you discuss this with your treating psychiatrist to see if your psychiatrist agrees. If so, obtain a letter from the psychiatrist to support your request to receive your own benefits. If Social Security does not agree to make you your own payee, you can suggest another person to manage your money.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      You do not say whether you live with your mother. If you do, part of the money you are eligible for would appropriately be spend for part of the rent or mortgage and utilities (and food if you all eat together.)

  • james spears

    I get benefits and have a payyee and live with this person i want to mve out and cut all ties with the pay she is female and is interested in me being her boyfriend and theastens to ruin my benefits if i leave
    i am capable of handling my benefits the jude put a payee in place due to a sib stance abisy problem from 20 years ago what can i do

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear James,

      You can talk with your physician and get a statement from the physician that says you are capable of handling your benefits (assuming the physician agrees). Then you can take the statement to Social Security and apply to be your own payee. If you cannot get a statement from your physician, you can ask someone else to be your payee and take that person to Social Security to apply to receive your benefits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Mckenzie

    Dear Kay,

    it’s McKenzie, thank you for answering my first question, I have another question for you I don’t know much to say about it. My question is will my benefits be reduced because I am my own payee and with my disability being chronic instead of being physical or mentally incompetent will it affect anything? I hope I’m not bothering you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear McKenzie,

      No bother at all! Being your own payee will not reduce your benefits. It could raise the question of whether you have recovered from your disability if you were approved based on a chronic mental illness and, therefore, could trigger a medical review of your disability. If you are still unable to work–even though you can handle your money–your benefits should continue.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Mckenzie

        Thanks for answering my question, I wasn’t approved based on a chronic mental illness, so basically your telling me that I will be able to be payee over my own check, I’m sorry just asking Kay.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear McKenzie,

          If you are mentally capable of handling your funds to your own benefit, paying for your basic needs first, then your benefits can be paid to your directly. I cannot guarantee that your claim will not be reviewed for continuing disability if your health has improved since it was determined you needed a payee.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Mckenzie

            Thanks Kay, if I need anymore questions answered I’ll write to you.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, McKenzie.

  • shari

    I was assigned a representative payee 6 months ago due to the fact that I admitted that I use to be a problem drinker. I haven,t had a drink in over 2 years now. How do i get control of my own money?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shari,

      Social Security does not pay disability benefits based on alcoholism or drug addiction. I suggest talking with the medical provider who is treating you for your disabling condition and ask his or her opinion about whether you are capable of handling your own benefits–including having the judgement and impulse control to pay your shelter and food costs first. If the doctor believes you are capable, have him or her write a letter to that effect. You can then take the letter to the Social Security Administration and apply to be your own payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • McKenzie

    Hi, my name is Mckenzie,
    I draw a ssdi check as a disabled adult child, I was 16 at the time I started drawing, I don’t have a mental or physical disability, mine is more chronic, I have psoriasis a skin disorder that Im on Iv meds for and I also have psoriatic, an fibromalyigia arhritis, when I was drawing the check at first my mom appointed herself as payee cause of me being a minor, now that I’m 29 till this day she is still my payee, so I’m wondering my question is ,is their anyway I can become my own payee, cause I did’nt go through a court to get my ssdi check, I just went to the social security administraton office.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear McKenzie,

      I suggest that you talk with the physician who knows you best and ask the doctor to write a statement that you are capable of handling your funds. Take the statement to a Social Security office and make an application to be your own payee. You might discuss this with your mother and, if she is in agreement, get a statement from her in support of your request.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Jose

    hello im 20 years old and disabled i receive benefits for my disability.

    My first question would be how do i go about changing the payee(Mom) to myself i would like to move out on my own does that effect my benefits?

    My second question, is it true that the amount of my benefits depend on my mom and her income, amount of kids, and bills?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jose,

      I am assuming from your remarks that you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments and my response is based on that assumption. Because you are over eighteen years of age, your mother’s income and the number of children in the household should not affect your SSI payment directly. When living with other people, what does affect your payment is whether you are paying your share of rent (or mortgage and property taxes), utilities, and food. This share is figured based on household costs divided by the number of people in the household.

      With regard to receiving your benefit directly, if you believe that you are mentally and physically capable of directing the use of your funds to pay your basic expenses of food and shelter and medical needs before other expenditures, discuss it with your physician. If your physician agrees, then get a statement from him or her that you are capable of handling your benefits. Take that statement to the Social Security Administration and apply to be your own payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Rebecca

    Hi! My husband became disabled this year, and this is the first year he has received social security disability benefits. He had a stroke and it affected his speech and he cannot talk very plainly. Therefore, the local social security office recommended that I be setup as the payee for him. I just received a letter in the mail called “Representative Payee Report”. It is asking how much was spent on food for the beneficiary, housing for the beneficiary, etc. But my husband and I have 2 adult children who are living at home as well, so both my paycheck from my job and my husband’s money from disability are spent on our family’s total expenses, such as groceries, telephone bill, etc.. How could I possibly know how much of our weekly grocery money was just on him? How could I know how much of the land taxes was for just him? I am really confused and I can’t find any information on the social security department’s website.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rebecca,

      Apologies for the delayed response. Our website has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      In the future you will need to keep a record of how you use your husband’s Social Security benefit. Just write down what you pay with the money each time you spend his funds.

      To reconstruct use of his money over the last year, you could assume that he paid his share of the mortgage and property tax. (His share would be 1/2 if the two of you own the property. If all four of you own the property, then his share would be 1/4) For food, you might consider how much your average monthly food bill is for all of you, divide it by 4 and then multiply it by 12 months. Do the same with the utility bills. (The utility companies can give you the total paid for the period in question. Also think back on roughly how much you spent on his clothes, personal items, medical bills, etc. Then add it all up to make sure that your estimates do not exceed the total that he has received.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Jeanie

    I would like to become my own payee but I was told that I would get my amount deducted is that true and if it is why would my amount get deducted just because I’m my own payee?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jeanie,

      Your benefit amount is not affected by who receives your check. Perhaps the person who told you this was thinking that if you were found to be capable of directing the use of your funds, you might no longer be considered disabled. (This could be true if you are receiving disability due to a mental illness or certain neurological problems.)

      That said, if you want to be your own payee, I suggest that you talk with the doctor who is treating you for your neurological or mental illness to see if he or she thinks you are capable of directing the use of your own benefits to take care of your basic needs of shelter, food, clothng, and medical care. If the doctor believes you are capable, get a letter from him or her. Then take the letter to the Social Security Administration and apply to be your own payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • corey

        I don’t understand that it bout payee . I was so mad bout it .

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Corey,

          Do you have a question?

          Kay

      • rosa garza

        I would like to be my own payee my doctor gave a letter but I want to know will effect my benefits

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Rosa,

          I cannot predict how applying to be your own payee will affect your claim. It may have no effect at all or Social Security could initiate an investigation to determine if you are still disabled. If you are still unable to work, either way your benefits should continue.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • killil johnson

    Im 17 years old and my mom use the funds for her own needs
    Is there a way i can stop this to recieve my funds? Also when i
    turn 18 and im capable of recieving my own funds how soon will
    I get my money?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Killil,

      You can contact the Social Security Administration and report that your mother is using your funds for her own needs. They will counsel her and/or arrange for you to have a different payee.

      Because you expect your benefits to continue after you turn eighteen, I assume that you will either still be in high school when you turn eighteen or are disabled. If you are receiving Social Security dependent or survivor benefits because you are a minor, you can receive your benefits directly once you turn eightenn as long as they continue, which would be to age nineteen or till you stop attending high school, whichever comes first. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments because you are disabled, your claim will be evaluated to determine whether you meet the definition of disability for adults. If benefits continue and you are mentally capable of directing the use of your funds to cover your fundamental needs, then the benefits will come to you. If you are getting SSI, you can contact Social Security to find out what they need from you for the disability evaluation and when they need it. Ideally, the decision would be made before you turn eighteen and there would be no interruption of benefits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Kelvin

    I was just told by the judge that I wold receive disability, but at the hearing my wife told the judge that I am not capable of handling my own money, but I want to be in control of my money. When social security calls me, can I tell them that i would like to be my own payee, and if so, will they allow it?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kelvin,

      If the judge decides that you are not capable of handling your funds, he or she will say so in the approval determination that you will get before payment starts. You have the right to appeal the decision that you are not capable. The best way to do so is to discuss the situation with the physician who is most familiar with you (or your psychiatrist or neurologist if you have a specialist related to your mental health and capacity) and the get their opinion. If you physician believes that you handle your funds and make good decisions to cover your basic needs of shelter, food, clothing, medical care before other expenditures, then you can ask the physician to make a written statment to that effect for you to present to Social Security with your appeal.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • Deborah Jansak

    What are the criteria SS uses to determine if a person requires a Representative payee?

    I am not asking about the Payee program or the payee themselves – but the reasons or “gold standards” used by the SS examiners to make the decision someone needs one.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deborah,

      Representative payees are assigned when it is determined that an individual is physically or mentally incapable of directing the use of their funds to care for himself or herself. In the case of mental illness this also includes lack of judgment to pay basic needs (first): shelter, food, basic clothing, medical.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Jonathan

    If I feel that my representative payee is using my money for their own benefits instead of mine, is there a way to change it so it would be someone else; and if so, where would I find a form to do so online?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jonathan,

      Yes, you can ask the Social Security Administration to change your representative payee.

      There is no form on line to do so. You will need to make a written statement requesting a change of payee that the statement that you believe your funds are being misused. Be as specific as possible with examples of why you think this is so. If you have someone in mind to be your payee, I suggest that you contact that person to see if he or she is willing to serve as your payee. If so, it would be good to have the person you want to be payee go to the office with you. In any event, the new payee will have to complete an application to be payee and will have to be interviewed by the Social Security Administration.

      If you are unable to go into the office, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 and explain the situation. Ask if they can mail out the representative payee application to you so that you can have the person you want to serve as your fill out the forms and so you can mail your statement and the new payee’s application to your local office.

      Best wishes,

      Kay

      • Jonathan

        Would there happen to be an actual list of qualified organizations to be a representative payee in my area to change to instead of one person?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jonathan,

          Banks, attorneys, some other professionals serve as conservators and would serve as representative payee for a fee. There may be some social service agencies in your area that would serve without a charge. I suggest that you contact the state or county human services department in your area and ask them whether they could serve as your payee or, if not, whether they can refer you to another organization.

          Best regards,

          Kay

      • hi i know some one who is mentally handicapped and has an ssi check plus he works part time his person in charge takes every dime he gets there is no history of doctors visits he gets very little no new thing old holes trashy under wear and socks, money is being used to also pay his caregiver bills only they no longer living together nor is that person under they care any more he has been placed at another house due to the care giver of record illness that happen to her now the moneys the mentally handicap person get is split between two house holds and i believe that is wrong

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Penny,

          All the individual’s benefits should be used for his housing, food, clothing, and other needs. None should be used for anyone else. The person or organization now providing care for the mentally handicapped person should apply to be representative payee for his benefits.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  • Laura Simon

    When I was awarded my disability benefits, I was not required to appoint a representative payee. I was asked if I wanted to handle my checks myself or if I wanted a representative payee. My mother was with me at the time and she volunteered to be my representative payee without asking me. At that time I did not object, however, now I do object. I filed for my benefits all on my own And did not have help from a lawyer or my mother. I would like to handle my benefit checks myself. How do I have my mother removed where I can change my account to a different bank and handle my benefits on my own?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laura,

      You can ask the Social Security Administration to change payment of your checks directly to you. To support your request, it is best to get a written statement from the physician who is treating you for your disability that says you are capable of directing the use of your own funds. Once you are made your own payee, you can also open a different bank account and have your benefits sent to the new account. If you do not have funds to open an account until you get direct payment, you can request that the first payment be made to a debit card Social Security will tell you how to obtain. Then when you have money off the card to deposit to an account, you can open an account.

      Regards,
      Kay

      • sir i have one brother ,,, who war disable .. he have disability cirtificate ..
        sir our monthly income is not enough to take proper care of my brother ,,,
        please help us ,,,
        give us some financial relief .. please
        i shall be vary thankful to you for this act of kindness ,,
        my email : haiderjan1920@gmail.com
        phone No : 03119591552

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Haider,

          You do not say what kind of “disability certificate” your brother has. If he has not applied for veteran’s benefits and Social Security Disability benefits, he should apply. Also, contact your local or state department of health and human services to see if there are any other benefits he is eligible for such as medical insurance, food stamps, in home care, or subsidized housing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Mark

        I been receiving SSI for over 10 years. The problem is my mother is receiving it and I’m now 21 yes old and would like to receive it myself. I am capable of managing my money. My mom and I get into small arguments over it tosometimes. I had mental issues and wad quick to get upset is why I receive it. I’m in school right now and doing well. I should be attending another school in the fall and would like to receive it while I’m at school.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Mark,

          If you are doing well and no longer disabled, your SSI benefits should stop. If you are uncertain whether you have recovered and whether or not you could be working rather than going to school or think that you could not work if you wanted to, then you might have your doctor complete form SSA-787, which can be found on the Internet, and file an application to be your own payee while you complete school and attempt work.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Michelle

      My representive is misusing my ssi what do I do?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Michelle,

        If you believe that your representative payee is misusing your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, report it right away to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Include in the report how much you think has been misused and what it has been used on. Either go to the office where the report can be written up for your signature or write up the report yourself. Also, be prepared to suggest someone else to serve as your payee.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

    • Justin

      My payee has been saying some things about my mom . I got into it with her today , and in the end she says she don’t want to be my payee any more . I have proof of things that she is saying . Now , last year Social Security told me if i went back within 2 yrs to change my payee , my check would stop for 6 months and an organization would take over . Yes she is good as far as paying the bills , but i want nothing to do with her any more , she is the 6th payee i have had , I cannot deal with someone talking bad about my family . She no longer wants anything to do with it , and i want nothing more to do with her . I want to be my own payee , I can handle my own money , I have my own place , I know what bills are . What can I do .

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Justin,

        Is it possible for your mother to be your payee? If not, you might talk with your doctor and ask whether the doctor is willing to write a statement that you are capable of handling your money and paying your bills but that that does not mean you have recovered from your disability.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

      • maria

        For all those having this terrible problem, let me reassure you that it wasnt hard at all to be my own payee after 30 years. I read advice given here and went to my dr and asked her to sign a form saying I can be my own payee, she wouldnt sign it. She told me to get a mental health provider to sign it. In spite of the fact I have my own bank account and a 790 credit score . So after crying and worrying about who I could get for my payee, because my old one is in his seventies and is moving to Florida. He told me that he would fix it and not to worry. So we went together to our appointment. The woman at ss just asked me alot of questions about where did I live, when I moved in, what bills I pay and how much , and I had to swear all I said was true under penalty of perjury. And now my check will come to me next month. She didnt want any of the letters I had from friends , or my landlord. Or the doctors letter either that I got from another doctor. So , go in with your payee or someone to help you and if you get someone really rude, ask to speak to their supervisor , or their supervisors supervisor. My payee did that, but only to tell him how nice the worker was and how he appreciated that. Now I am so relieved , cause while I have depression, anxiety, ptsd, and agoraphobia I have always managed my own money and been responsible. Good luck .

        • kim Frazier

          Hi Maria, I suffer with the same mental illnesses. I can manage my own money, but now they don’t think I need benefits anymore, and I do. Just because I can manage money doesn’t mean that I am well. How do I express this to them?

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Kim,

            You need to discuss your condition and your disability benefits with your psychiatrist and/or therapist and get their written statements regarding your current diagnoses and why you can’t work.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • chris

      I have been receiving benefits off n on since about 1999 . have always needed a payee. now my payee has been using my funds for own use how do I prove withdrals made were not for me . can I get my money back hopefuly ican become my own payee . but how do I proceed with getting my money back. im very hurt bc this person is very close to me but I have all the physical proof how do I proceed. don’t want anything to happen to them I just want my money back. its cruel

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Chris,

        You could either tell the person you know the money has been used and ask for it back for him or her to stop misusing the money. Say that you would rather solve the issue between you. Then get a letter from your physician that you are capable of handling your money and paying for your necessities, but this does not mean you have recovered from your disability. Take the letter to Social Security and apply to be your own payee. The other option is to take all your proofs to Social Security and report the misuse. Either ask to be your own payee or take someone with you to serve as your payee. Ask Social Security to collect the misused funds and reissue the money to you.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

      • nicole

        i had a payee for a while and i got sent to a psychward for 3 years group home for five cause she didnt want me and when i got out of the home at 21 theres an overpayment of 7,737,000 going to my payee and its coming out my ssi. not only that im finding out my credit was used too! and i have very poor credit of about 524 i dont even know what credit is i never used it smh stay strong to all because not everybody is gonna love u unconditionally once u give em your love and all of your support they take advantage and that
        s when u have to put a stop to it because its not right to those incapable and trust you with there benifits to help them just to be takin for granted

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Nicole,

          You can ask for waiver of repayment of the overpayment based on not being able to afford repaying and based on the overpayment not being your fault and based on collection would be unfair because the overpayment occurred with you were not mentally capable of caring for yourself. I suggest consulting with an attorney on what to do about the credit problem.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • nicole

            I went back to ssi and brought the group home letter stating I was there from 10/09/07 to 6/24/2011 and she told me she wasn’t supposed to receive the checks after 18 if I want living with her abs also she asked did I see her again I said no then asked if I had money in my pocket I told her that my family told me I couldnt handle my money she said I was suppose to have allowance to go to the movies etc. She made my current pasture payee write a statement stating I never went back to my mother and had multiple payees after now I have an appointment with ssi I don’t know what’s gonna happen but I know im not responsible neither is my current payee. Uggh Im lost

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Nicole,

              It sounds as if you have done what you can to give the correct information to the Social Security Administration. If you have not already requested waiver of collection of the overpayment,I suggest that you do so because you are not at fault in causing the overpayment.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • Robert

      You need to have a letter signed by your doctor or mental health specialist to verify you have abilities to manage your own monies.

      You should have a letter for them to sign indicating the above. If you present them with a ready letter to sign, you may be telling them you also have these skills. Hope this works. I’ve been there, done this.

      Robert

    • irene milinkovich

      Dear Laura,

      I have been representative payee for my daughter for about 1 1/2 years now. When we moved to Arizona she was not capable of handling her monies. Now that she is back with her husband and doing better emotionally, I feel that she can handle her disability funds herself. When she was awarded the disability she did handle her monies until the past 1 1/2 years. How can I turn the disability over to her? She will be living on her own and is seeing doctors on a weekly or monthly basis for her disability.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Irene,

        Either your daughter can apply to be her own payee or her husband can apply to be payee for her. Ifyour daughter is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), not Social Security Disability (SSDI), and you have not reported her moving in with her husband, you must do so right away because her husband’s income has to be considered in determining her ongoing financial eligibility for SSI.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

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