SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home1616. What are the responsibilities of a representative payee?

The responsibilities of a representative payee are to:

  • Determine the beneficiary's current and future needs and to use the funds in the best interests of the beneficiary, conforming to SSA regulations and policies;

  • Apply the benefit payments only for the beneficiary's use and welfare (see §1617);

  • Maintain a continuing awareness of the beneficiary's needs and condition. If the beneficiary does not live with the representative payee, the representative payee should keep in contact with the beneficiary by visiting and consultating with custodians;

  • Keep written records of all payments received from SSA and how the payments were spent and/or saved along with receipts for shelter expenses and major purchases to prove how funds were spent and/or saved on behalf of the beneficiary;

  • Report to us any event that will affect the amount of payments the beneficiary receives or the right of the beneficiary to Social Security or SSI payments;

  • Give us written reports accounting for the use of the funds, when requested to do so;

  • Notify us of any change in circumstances that would indicate he or she is no longer suitable to serve as payee or would affect the payee's performance; and

  • Return conserved funds to SSA when no longer serving as the beneficiary's representative payee (see §1622) and return any payments not due when a beneficiary has died.

Last Revised: Nov. 16, 2010