When you are unable to manage your own Social Security disability benefits, you may need to have a representative payee appointed. In most cases, you can choose the individual to serve in this role, subject to the approval of the Social Security Administration. If you later wish to choose a different representative payee, you must fill out the appropriate paperwork in order to make the request to the Social Security Administration. It is important to choose the new representative carefully since this is such an important role.
What to Look for in a New Social Security Disability Representative Payee
If you are preparing to choose a new representative payee, consider choosing someone who meets the following criteria:
- Someone who is responsible with money. Obviously, the individual who serves as your representative payee is going to be responsible for managing the funds. You will need help with such things as paying your bills and making sure there is some discretionary money available for your use after basic needs are met. Choosing someone who is fiscally responsible will help to ensure that your disability benefits are managed wisely.
- Someone who is willing to help with the day-to-day aspects of managing your disability benefits, such helping you buy your groceries. Serving as a representative payee requires more than just writing checks and balancing bank accounts.
- Someone who will promptly fulfill his or her reporting obligations to the Social Security Administration. The representative payee is responsible for reporting changes in your income or changes in your condition. Your continued eligibility for benefits depends on the reports provided by your representative payee. If he or she is not trustworthy and responsible, this could jeopardize your benefits.
- Someone you feel comfortable discussing personal issues with. You will need to share information about your condition in addition to your personal financial affairs with your representative payee. These are uncomfortable topics for many people. It is important that you feel comfortable enough to be forthcoming with the representative payee.
For assistance with your Social Security disability benefits, including choosing a new representative payee, we welcome you to contact us today at 800-800-6353.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.