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Social Security Disability Guide: What is a Representative Payee?

Social Security disability benefits offer a much-needed financial resource to vulnerable people who are no longer physically or mentally capable of working in a full-time position. In some cases, a person’s disability or medical impairment may make it difficult or impossible to manage their own financial or legal affairs. In these cases, a ‘representative payee’ may be appointed to help them handle their disability claim and manage their benefits. Here, our Social Security disability lawyer Harold W. Conick discusses key things to know about SSDI/SSI claims, representative payees, and your legal rights.

Social Security Representative Payee: Understanding the Basics

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), a representative payee is simply a party that has been appointed to handle Social Security benefits on behalf of another person. A representative payee can be an individual (spouse, adult child, loved one, etc.) or an organization. When appointed a representative payee becomes responsible for spending a recipient’s disability benefits to help them maintain the best possible standard of living and the highest possible quality of life.

What are the Duties of a Representative Payee?

There are very stringent guidelines for how a representative payee can use Social Security benefits. If they fail to comply with the regulations, they can be removed. The agency wants to make sure that a representative payee fulfills their responsibilities in the proper manner. Here are the three (3) core duties of a representative payee:

  1. Ensure the beneficiary has adequate food and housing;
  2. Ensure that medical needs are taken care of; and
  3. Attend to personal needs, such as clothing and home furnishings.

Above all else, it is the job of a representative payee to make sure that the Social Security disability recipient’s benefits are used in a reasonable and responsible manner — with a clear focus on using their SSDI or SSI resources to provide for their best interests.

You Have 60 Days to Appeal the SSA’s Designation of a Representative Payee

In some cases, there are disputes over whether a representative payee is necessary. Pursuant to federal law, the SSA has the legal power to assign a representative payee to a beneficiary. In other words, a representative payee may even be appointed against the beneficiary’s own wishes.

If you believe that a representative payee was appointed in error, you have 60 days to challenge the SSA’s decision. Make sure that you submit your appeal before the 60-day deadline expires. Otherwise, it is far more challenging to get a payee removed.

Contact Our Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area SSDI Attorney for Immediate Assistance with Your Claim

At Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd., our entire legal practice is focused on Social Security disability law. We are committed to furthering the interests of our clients. If you have concerns about representative payees, we are available to offer guidance. For a free, no commitment review of your SSDI claim, please contact us today. We serve communities all around the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area.