The Role of a Representative Payee in Disability Claims
According to the Social Security Administration, more than 8 million people on Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income need assistance managing their money. In these cases, a representative payee may step in and assume the role of managing the disabled person's money. Oftentimes, the representative payee will be a family member or close friend. If you are a recipient of disability benefits and need help managing your money, it's important to pick a trustworthy individual as your payee because they will have access to all of your benefits.
Here are some things a representative payee must do:
1. Take care of the beneficiary's day-to-day needs of food and shelter
2. Pay for the beneficiary's medical care needs
3. Purchase items such as clothing and toiletries
4. Save any left-over benefits, preferably in an interest-bearing account
5. Keep records and report on how he or she spent the benefits by completing a Representative Payee Report (Form SSA-623, SSA-6230, or SSA-6233). SSA mails out the form annually. He or she can also file the report online at www.socialsecurity.gov/payee.
A representative payee can also use larger sums of past due benefits to make significant purchases such as a car or make a down payment on a house. He or she can also use the money to purchase furniture that is used by the household. In addition, the representative payee is responsible for making sure all applicable income taxes are paid. For a full list of duties and responsibilities, look at SSA's publication, A Guide for Representative Payees.
Because a representative payee has so much control over your benefits and has so many responsibilities, it's important to enlist the help of someone you have full confidence will look out for your best interests. If you have questions about Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income, please contact the experienced disability attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. where we have been assisting disabled clients throughout the Gulf Coast, including, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida for over 4 decades.