Who needs a payee?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) assumes that adult beneficiaries are capable of managing their money unless there is legal, medical or lay evidence to the contrary.
Having a representative payee is not an option or a choice.
SSA appoints a representative payee when a beneficiary is determined incapable of managing or directing someone else to manage their benefits.
The law requires that some beneficiaries have a representative payee.
Those required to have a payee include:
minor children under age 15 (For children age 15 - 17, SSA policy requires a representative payee, unless an exception is granted.);
legally incompetent adults (if your organization is a legal guardian for a beneficiary, you will need to submit a copy of the court appointment to SSA); and
disabled adults who are determined by SSA to be incapable, and who SSA has determined to have a drug addiction or alcohol (DAA) condition.
If you have a beneficiary that is receiving their own Social Security and/or SSI payments and they lose their ability to manage their money, you should promptly report this to SSA.
When this occurs, SSA will obtain medical or lay evidence to determine if the beneficiary is capable of managing his or her payments.
If the beneficiary is determined to be incapable, SSA will appointment a representative payee.
Special Needs of Beneficiaries With a Drug Addiction or Alcohol Condition
Disabled adults who are determined by SSA to be incapable, and who SSA has determined to have a drug addiction or alcohol condition must have a representative payee.
Organizations and agencies are preferred representative payees for these beneficiaries because they already serve the mentally ill, substance abusers and the homeless. These agencies are aware of the special needs of these individuals and how financial resources can help to meet those needs. SSA and local organizations and agencies have established mutually beneficial working relationships.