Do Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Need a Representative Payee?
Social Security Disability benefits or monthly Supplemental Security Income benefits are provided by the Social Security Administration to help individuals who cannot work due to an illness, injury, or mental condition. While the program provided by the Social Security Administration provides monthly benefit payments, helping the financial situation faced by disabled individuals, there may be remaining challenges for recipients. Some Social Security Disability beneficiaries cannot manage their financial affairs and are appointed a representative payee to help them.
A representative payee receives the beneficiary’s payments and ensures that the beneficiary’s basic needs are met. In some cases, family or friends serve as representative payees. The Administration determines whether a beneficiary requires a representative payee. In some cases, an administrative law judge or disability examiner may recommend a representative payee, or the beneficiary can request a particular person.
Generally, adults who are “legally incompetent” and minor children are required to have a representative payee. Parents or guardians typically serve as the representative payee for their child. If a minor demonstrates the ability to manage their benefits, either by living independently or by establishing a record of receiving and successfully managing their Social Security benefit payments, the Administration may pay them.
Medical records and other evidence may indicate that there is a need for a representative payee, despite the presumption held by the Social Security Administration that an adult beneficiary can competently manage their benefit payments and finances. A representative payee can be appointed when an adult receiving Social Security benefits has an intellectual or cognitive disability or an injury that causes a mental impairment, physical injuries, or a disability that renders them vulnerable to abuse. Adults who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may require a representative payee to help them manage their finances.
A representative payee essentially acts in the beneficiary’s interest. Their fiduciary duty prohibits them from acting in a way that benefits themselves when it is to the detriment of the beneficiary. Social Security Disability payments are expected to be used in a way that helps meet the beneficiary’s needs. Representative payees do not charge the beneficiary a fee for serving as their representative payee, unless the Administration authorizes a charge.
When Social Security Disability benefits claimants believe their circumstances have shifted, and they no longer require the services of a representative payee, they can set forth evidence that they are now capable of managing their finances. Proof may be demonstrated through a letter from a doctor, including psychologists, primary care physicians, or psychiatrists, stating that the claimant can now handle their own affairs.
The Pennsylvania lawyers at Needle Law help individuals seeking Social Security benefits, providing legal guidance should an individual potentially require a representative payee. Our experienced attorneys are here to assist you throughout the process of seeking benefits and can discuss the details of your claim at no cost. To set up your complimentary consultation, call our office at (570) 344-1266 or online.