Guide to Representative Payee Bank Accounts
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What Is a Representative Payee Account?
What Are the Rules?
Determine the beneficiary’s needs and use their benefits to meet those needs. Save any benefits left after meeting those current needs in a checking account for their future needs. Report any life changes or events that could affect the beneficiary’s eligibility for benefits or payment amount to the appropriate agency. Keep records of all benefits received and how they were spent and/or saved. Provide benefit information to Social Services or other agencies serving the beneficiary. Help the beneficiary get medical treatment when needed. Notify Social Security, Veterans Administration, or Railroad Retirement of any changes in the beneficiary's circumstances that would impact their benefits. Complete mandatory annual accounting reports for Social Security, Veterans Administration, or Railroad Retirement. Return any payments to which the beneficiary is not entitled.
Who Manages the Account?
A community-based, nonprofit social service organization that is bonded and licensed in the same state where it serves as payee A state or local government agency with responsibility for income maintenance, social service, health care, or fiduciary duties, and has regularly served as a representative payee for at least five beneficiaries.
What Power Does a Representative Payee Have?
Signing legal documents (other than Social Security ones) on behalf of the beneficiary. Having any legal authority over earned income, pensions, or any income from sources that are not Social Security or SSI. Using the beneficiary's funds for the payee's personal expenses, or spending the money in a manner that would leave the beneficiary without needed items or services (like food, housing, medical care, etc). So don’t ever attempt to transfer fundsfrom the beneficiary’s bank to yours. Placing a beneficiary's Social Security or SSI funds into the payee’s or someone else’s account. Using a child beneficiary's "dedicated account" funds for basic living expenses. (This only applies to disabled or blind SSI beneficiaries who are under the age of 18.) Keeping conserved funds once you stop your services as the representative payee. Charging the beneficiary for services— unless authorized by the SSA. (See above for details on when payees can be compensated.).
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