§ 416.624. How do we investigate a representative payee applicant?

Before selecting an individual or organization to act as your representative payee, we will perform an investigation.

(a) Nature of the investigation. As part of the investigation, we do the following:

(1) Conduct a face-to-face interview with the payee applicant unless it is impracticable as explained in paragraph (c) of this section.

(2) Require the payee applicant to submit documented proof of identity, unless information establishing identity has recently been submitted with an application for title II, VIII or XVI benefits.

(3) Verify the payee applicant's Social Security account number or employer identification number.

(4) Determine whether the payee applicant has been convicted of a violation of section 208, 811 or 1632 of the Social Security Act.

(5) Determine whether the payee applicant has previously served as a representative payee and if any previous appointment as payee was revoked or terminated for misusing title II, VIII or XVI benefits.

(6) Use our records to verify the payee applicant's employment and/or direct receipt of title II, VIII, or XVI benefits.

(7) Verify the payee applicant's concern for the beneficiary with the beneficiary's custodian or other interested person.

(8) Require the payee applicant to provide adequate information showing his or her relationship to the beneficiary and to describe his or her responsibility for the care of the beneficiary.

(9) Determine whether the payee applicant is a creditor of the beneficiary (see § 416.622(e)).

(10) Conduct a criminal background check on the individual payee applicant.

(b) Subsequent face-to-face interviews. After holding a face-to-face interview with a payee applicant, subsequent face-to-face interviews are not required if that applicant continues to be qualified and currently is acting as a payee, unless we determine, within our discretion, that a new face-to-face interview is necessary. We base this decision on the payee's past performance and knowledge of and compliance with our reporting requirements.

(c) Impracticable. We may consider a face-to-face interview impracticable if it would cause the payee applicant undue hardship. For example, the payee applicant would have to travel a great distance to the field office. In this situation, we may conduct the investigation to determine the payee applicant's suitability to serve as a representative payee without a face-to-face interview.

[69 FR 60237, Oct. 7, 2004, as amended at 73 FR 66521, Nov. 10, 2008; 84 FR 4326, Feb. 15, 2018; 84 FR 57320, Oct. 25, 2019]