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Getting rid of my representative payee

When many SSDI or SSI claimants are awarded disability benefits they may be too sick or young to manage their own payments. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has created a system where the claimant or the SSA can assign what they call a representative payee to manage the SSDI or SSI funds.

The representative payee is tasked with the following:

  1. Maintain savings accounts to meet the current and future needs of the disability claimant.

  2. Help the claimant get proper medical treatment.

  3. Complete written report to account for fund management.

  4. Keep records of how funds are spent.

  5. Notify the Social Security Administration of major changes which affect the representative payee’s ability to do their job.

  6. Identity the claimant’s financial needs.

  7. Return funds that the claimant should not receive to the SSA.

  8. Notify medical facilities of information.

Claimant’s have the right to request a specific person for their representative payee or in the case of a minor, a parent can contact the Social Security Administration, submit an application (Form SSA-11), documents verifying their identity and complete an in-person interview with the Social Security Administration.

The goal of any representative payee should be to use the SSDI and SSI funds, “to the benefit of the claimant to pay for the current and foreseeable needs of the beneficiaries and by appropriately saving any remaining benefits.” This means the payee should first make sure the claimant’s priority needs are met: food, shelter, medical care, and clothes. The representative payee must also keep good records of how the benefits are spent.

But what happens when a minor becomes an adult, a claimant’s funds are misspent or the claimant desires to become responsible for their own funds? They have the right to request changes.

How can I change my representative payee assignment?

In most cases if you have been assigned a representative payee the Social Security Administration will send you notification via mail. Like other SSA decisions, you have the right to appeal the designation within 60 days from the date of the assignment letter. Challenges can be made if you do not think you need a representative payee or you do not like who has been assigned to your SSDI or SSI claim.

Other claimants who have been receiving benefits and feel that their representative payee is not up to the task can request a new payee. First you should let your representative payee know that you are making a new request and then you must complete a Social Security Disability Representative Payee application. This form can be found at the nearest SSA office and you can also submit it to the office after you have filled it out.

Keep in mind, if you are attempting to eliminate a payee from your SSDI or SSI claim you may have to submit evidence that you are able to manage your own funds. This may require documentation from a doctor. For instance, if you had a severe mental health disorders and were unable to manage money for a short period of time it could be possible for you to get treatment, take medication and stabilize to a level which allows you to manage money.
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