A qualified organization that:
- Submits a SSA-445 application to collect a fee to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and
- Is authorized in writing by SSA to collect a fee as payment for providing representative payee services.
The fee is collected from the beneficiary’s monthly Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Individuals who serve as payees are not allowed to collect a fee for performing payee services.
To qualify as a FFS payee, your organization must:
- Be a state or local government agency, OR
- Be a community based, non-profit social service agency that is bonded and licensed (providing licensing is available) in the state in which you serve as payee.
In addition, your organization must:
- Regularly provide representative payee services to at least five beneficiaries,
- Not be a creditor of the beneficiary, and
- Submit a SSA-445 application to collect a fee to SSA and be authorized in writing by SSA to collect a fee.
Your organization must complete a form SSA-445, Application to Collect a Fee for Payee Services and submit the form with the supporting documentation to your local Social Security office.
The SSA-445 asks for:
- Your employer identification number;
- Your organization’s mission statement and service area including the zip codes, towns or counties served;
- A list of beneficiaries you already serve (if applicable) including their name, address and social security number;
- A statement as to whether your organization currently charges or collects any fees for payee services;
- The name and signature of your director or his/her designee;
- Proof of tax exempt status under Section 501(C) of the Internal Revenue Code;
- A complete copy of your organization’s current bond/insurance policy;
- The minimum bond amount is based on the amount of money you handle for SSA/SSI beneficiaries,
- The bond must cover embezzlement or theft by officers/owners and employees,
- The bond must show SSA as an insured party, and
- A copy of your state license that allows you to provide services within the state--if required within the state.
You must receive written authorization from SSA before you collect a fee.
The Social Security Independence and Programs Improvement Act of 1994 (P.L.103-296) limits the fee amount qualified organizations may collect for providing representative payee services. The fee amount is subject to an increase in December by the same percentage as the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), however the FFS organization may not collect the increased fee until the January payment.
Beginning December 2012, FFS organizations may collect a fee of up to 10 percent of the total monthly benefits from beneficiaries, up to a maximum of $39 per month. FFS organizations may collect a fee up to 10 percent of the total monthly benefits , up to a maximum of $76 per month, from beneficiaries entitled to disability benefits that have a drug addiction and/or alcoholism condition. SSA must authorize the higher $76 fee.
Your organization can charge the beneficiary a fee for any month in which:
- You are authorized in writing by SSA to collect a fee, AND
- You are the payee of record and the beneficiary receives a Social Security and/or SSI payment, AND
- You provided payee services for that month.
An organization that has been authorized as a FFS payee cannot collect a fee from a beneficiary if any of the following apply:
- No benefit payment is due for the month, even if a check is paid incorrectly;
- Your organization did not provide payee services for the month;
- Your organization performed payee services for fewer than five beneficiaries;
- SSA determined that your organization misused a beneficiary’s funds;
- Your organization is receiving compensation, including court/guardianship fees, for performing representative payee services for the individual;
- The beneficiary resides in a residential facility and only receives personal needs money from SSA; or
- The beneficiary only has conserved funds.
No, a FFS organization cannot be reimbursed for overhead expenses (business operating expenses) such as office equipment, supplies, photocopying, postage, etc. These types of expenses are included in the fee collected from the beneficiary for representative payee services.
Representatives from SSA will visit you six months after you are authorized as a FFS payee to make sure you understand your new responsibilities. SSA will also conduct annual certifications and site visits to be sure you continue to meet our FFS qualifications. SSA will contact you by telephone and send your organization a letter prior to our visit. You are also required to complete an annual accounting report for each beneficiary you serve showing us how you spent and saved their funds.
You may continue to find the answers to many of your questions about the Representative Payee Program at www.socialsecurity.gov/payee . You may call our toll-free telephone number, 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778). We can answer specific questions and provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.
We treat all calls confidentially. We also want to make sure you receive accurate and courteous service. That is why we have a second Social Security representative monitor some telephone calls.