(a) We pay benefits to a representative payee on behalf of a beneficiary 18 years old or older when it appears to us that this method of payment will be in the interest of the beneficiary. We do this if we have information that the beneficiary is—
(1) Legally incompetent or mentally incapable of managing benefit payments; or
(2) Physically incapable of managing or directing the management of his or her benefit payments.
(b) Generally, if a beneficiary is under age 18, we will pay benefits to a representative payee. However, in certain situations, we will make direct payments to a beneficiary under age 18 who shows the ability to manage the benefits. For example, we make direct payments to a beneficiary under age 18 if the beneficiary is—
(1) Receiving disability insurance benefits on his or her own Social Security earnings record; or
(2) Serving in the military services; or
(3) Living alone and supporting himself or herself; or
(4) A parent and files for himself or herself and/or his or her child and he or she has experience in handling his or her own finances; or
(5) Capable of using the benefits to provide for his or her current needs and no qualified payee is available; or
(6) Within 7 months of attaining age 18 and is initially filing an application for benefits.
[47 FR 30472, July 14, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 35483, Aug. 28, 1989]