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What is the representative payee program with SSI benefits?

When Oklahomans receive Supplemental Security Income under the Social Security disability program, they might be in such condition that they will not be deemed able to manage the benefits on their own. If that is determined to be the case, then there will be the appointment of a representative payee. A representative payee can be an individual, an agency, an organization or an institution. Prior to a representative payee being appointed, the medical evidence and other factors will be assessed to decide on the person's ability to manage the SSI benefits.

There are certain people who must have a representative payee. They are most children under the age of 18; people who are adults but are legally incompetent; and anyone who the Social Security Administration decides is not capable of managing or directing the management of the benefits. There are a wide variety of people and entities that can function as a representative payee. They include a person who is concerned about the recipient's welfare such as a parent or other relative; an institution like a nursing home; a social service agency or a nonprofit; administrators at a homeless shelter; or a community-based nonprofit the SSA has approved can charge fees for providing representative payee services.

The representative payee will know the recipient's needs and act in his or her best interests. The SSI benefits must be used for the person's basic needs including food, clothes, living space, medical treatment and more. If there is any money left after all of that has been paid for, it should go into a bank account. The representative payee must provide a report stating how the money was spent on an annual basis. If requests are made by the SSA, the representative payee should respond to them. This includes issues related to continuing eligibility for SSI.

The representative payee's authority is limited to being between the SSA and the person. The representative payee agreement can be terminated at the request of the person or the representative. There are many issues that disabled individuals who are applying for SSI benefits need to understand and a representative payee is one. For assistance with any matter related to SSI Supplemental Security Income, a lawyer can help.

Source: ssa.gov, "Representative Payee Program," accessed on May 8, 2017

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