SSR 65-54: SECTION 205(j). -- REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE -- USE OF BENEFITS FOR SUPPORT OF BENEFICIARY'S PARENT

20 CFR 404.1607

SSR 65-54

Where the current maintenance needs of a social security beneficiary are being fully met; where the beneficiary's mother is unable to support herself; and where applicable State law provides that a person who has sufficient financial resources is legally obligated to support his parent if the parent is unable to support herself, held, the representative payee may use a reasonable part of the benefit payments for the support of the beneficiary's mother.

B has been entitled to social security benefits in the amount of $71 a month since December 1961. B is incompetent and is confined in a Veterans's Administration hospital. His sister, L, was selected as representative payee to receive benefits on his behalf. The Veterans' Administration takes care of all of B's needs including medical treatment and provides $30 a month for spending money for him. Therefore, it has not been necessary for L to spend any of B's benefits for his current maintenance. L has conserved all of B's benefits in a savings account except for $16 which she spent for transportation cost for herself to visit B at the hospital. With interest the amount thus conserved totals about $2,500.

The mother of B and L lives in L's home. Her only income is $75 a month old-age assistance for her nursing care, paid by the Welfare Department. L works and earns $300 a month "take-home pay." She has to pay $100 a month to a nurse to care for her mother and $45 a month to a maid. The mother was recently in the hospital. L owes a doctor bill of $135 for services rendered to her mother. Medicine for her mother costs from $50 to $60 a month. The Welfare Department may pay her mother's hospital bill of $741. In addition L has to make payments on the house and to pay for food, utilities, clothing and other living expenses.

L has requested advice as to whether it would be proper to use $30 a month out of B's benefits to help pay expenses for her mother's care.

Section 205(j) of the Act provides that when it appears that the interest of a beneficiary would be served thereby certification of payment may be made either for direct payment to such beneficiary or for his use and benefit to a relative or some other person. Payments are considered for the use and benefit of the beneficiary when, among other purposes, they are used for the support of a person whom the beneficiary is legally obligated to support. Thus, ยง 404.1607 of the Social Security Administration Regulations No. 4 (20 CFR 404.1607) provides that where current maintenance needs of a beneficiary are being reasonably met, part of the beneficiary's payments may be used for the support of the legally dependent spouse or a legally dependent child of the beneficiary. The beneficiary's payments may also be used by a payee to provide support for a parent of the beneficiary if the beneficiary is legally obligated to support the parent.

The pertinent statute of the State is which B is domiciled provides as follows:

The father, grandfather, brother, mother, grandmother, child, or grandchild, of any poor person unable to maintain themselves, being of sufficient ability, must support such persons; and failing to do so, any county or municipality in the state having made provisions for such persons may sue and . . . recover . . . for the time such county or municipality has made provision for such person, the court or jury trying the same being satisfied from the evidence that the defendant was of ability sufficient to provide for their support . . .

The highest court of the State has held that under the above statute an insane son, who had sufficient property to support a dependent father, unable to maintain himself, was liable for such support.

Accordingly, since B's mother is unable to maintain herself and B has sufficient financial resources to provide for her support over and above his current maintenance needs, it is held that a reasonable part of B's benefit payments may be used for the support of his other, and that in this case the amount of $30 per month is a reasonable amount to be so spent.


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