The last blog discussed the individual recipients of disability benefits who may need a representative payee, as well as those who may serve in such capacity as a representative payee. Most importantly, what are the duties of a representative payee?
Every case involving benefits is distinct and unique. A representative payee must be sufficiently familiar with a beneficiary’s situation and its corresponding requirements and demands. This is especially important if the beneficiary doesn’t live with the representative payee. Thus, the most important duty of a representative payee is to meet a beneficiary’s precise needs and utilize disability benefits in his or her best interests.
As would be expected, a representative payee must first apply any SSI benefits for current basic needs such as housing, food, clothing, medical care and even personal comfort items. If any money remains after fully providing for the aforementioned needs, a representative payee must place these funds, preferably, in an interest-bearing savings account.
Another important, required duty of a representative payee is the completion of an accounting report indicating how benefits were spent and the current location and status of any leftover funds. Representative payees should also act on a beneficiary’s behalf by responding to any of the SSA’s requests for action or information. Examples of common requests are the annual representative payee accounting report, the SSI redetermination of eligibility or request for a continuing disability review.
A representative payee’s authority is limited. Such authority only applies to matters between a beneficiary and the SSA. Not only does a representative payee have no authority to enter into any binding contracts on a beneficiary’s behalf, a power of attorney does not give someone authority to act as a representative payee.
A representative payee also has a responsibility to reporting to the SSA any changes in a beneficiary’s circumstances that may affect eligibility to benefits. Such circumstances may include a change in income, resources, address, living arrangements, or work status.
Both a beneficiary and his or her representative payee may, at any time, request that the SSA modify or terminate the beneficiary-representative payee relationship. Following a request for modification or termination, the SSA conducts an investigation before making any final determination.
Careful planning is essential to receiving the most out of Social Security benefits. If you have any questions, an experienced disability attorney may provide assistance. Do you have a potential Social Security disability claim? To improve your chances of meeting all of the requirements for the allowance of a claim (and avoiding the denial of benefits), retain the services of a qualified Kentucky Social Security Disability attorney. Contact Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.