Make wise choices when a representative payee manages money

Those who need help managing monthly benefits may receive assistance through a representative payee selected by Social Security.

DENVER, CO — Some of the millions of people who get monthly Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits need help managing this money.

When a person is assigned to help you manage your monthly benefits, that person is called a representative payee. Social Security may decide a person needs a representative payee if Social Security receives information that indicates you need help to manage the money.

Social Security tries to select someone who knows you and wants to help you. The representative payee should be someone who you trust, who sees you often, and who clearly understands your needs.

The representative payee will receive your monthly benefits on your behalf and must then use the money to pay for your current needs.

Eligible costs include housing and utilities; food, medical and dental expenses; personal care items; clothing; and rehabilitation expenses (if you’re disabled).

If there is a specific person that you want to act as the representative payee, tell a Social Security representative, and they will consider the request. Social service agencies, nursing homes, or other organizations are also qualified to act as a representative payee. Ask them to contact Social Security.

If you receive a decision from Social Security that you have had a representative payee appointed to manage your money and you don’t agree that you need one, or if you want a different representative payee, write to Social Security within 60 days to appeal that decision.

If you can’t manage your finances, someone else can help. If you have a trusted friend or family member who can be your representative payee, then read the following publication online at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10076.pdf. This guide provides more information on Social Security representative payee rules.

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