Sometimes people who receive benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) need someone to help them manage those benefits. When that happens, SSA will appoint someone to manage that money. This is called a representative payee (rep payee). A Rep Payee is responsible for ensuring SSA benefits are spent to pay legitimate expenses and spent only in the best interest of the SSA beneficiary.
Who Can Serve as a Rep Payee?
A Rep Payee ideally is a family member or close friend. This is called an Individual Payee.
Sometimes an organization in the community provides Rep Payee services. This is called an Organizational Payee. For example, some county departments of social services act as Rep Payees for community members. This is usually done for free, but there are some businesses that act as Rep Payees and charge a fee to provide the service – these are called Fee for Services rep payees. This fee can range from $43 to nearly $100 a month.
Other Organizational Payees are residential facilities, such as group homes, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. These institutions do not charge a fee to serve as rep payee. No one should be forced to name a facility as their payee as a condition of moving into the facility.
What is DRNC’s Role with SSA Beneficiaries and Rep Payees?
Our goal is to protect people with disabilities from financial exploitation, abuse and neglect.
On April 13, 2018, the President signed the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Act. This law directs state protection and advocacy system organizations, such as DRNC, to conduct periodic onsite reviews along with additional discretionary reviews. In addition, the P&As conduct educational visits and reviews based on allegations they receive of payee misconduct.
A review includes:
- An interview with the individual or organizational representative payee
- A review of the representative payee’s financial records for the requested beneficiary or sample of beneficiaries served
- A home visit and interview for each beneficiary included in the review; and an interview with legal guardians and third parties when applicable.
If a Rep Payee is found to be mishandling benefits, we work with the payee on a corrective action plan with SSA’s advance approval of the plan.
SSA does their own follow up in more significant instances, whether that might be removing the payee and/or referring for prosecution
We developed this webpage at U.S. taxpayer expense, funded through a Social Security grant agreement. Although Social Security reviewed this publication for accuracy, it does not constitute an official Social Security communication.