Represenative Payees and Power of Attorney for Social Security Disability Recipients
Sometimes when an individual first obtains disability, Social Security will make a determination that the recipient will need what is known a representaive payee, usually referred to as "payee" for short. This decision is ultimately made at the field office/public office level. Sometimes if there was a judge involved in the case they may make a reccomendation to the field office. The purpose of the program is to make sure no matter what, the recipient is at a minimum getting their basic needs met and so food, clothing and shelter bills are getting paid and on time. The most common reasons someone may need a payee are substance abuse issues, mental illness, intellectual disorders and if the recipient is underage. It is not always an easy call to make. First of all it really is their money and it's often all they have. Losing control of it for some of people is just one more aspect of their life of which they feel like they have no control over. You also want to encourage independence and personal growth and development. It's the ever lasting battle between idealism, hope, and realism. You can have an individual be your payee or you could have an institutonal payee which is a non-profit organization. There are various pros and cons to each for both the recipient and the potential rep payee. You have to be able to pass a criminal background check to be a payee. If you get a doctor to fil out a form that Social Security has you might not need one. A power of attorney DOES NOT automatically let someone be your payee. There are numerous legal issues that make them very diffferent things that I won't go into here. So just because someone is or does have your power of attorney does not mean you will neccessarily be approved to be there payee. Contact your local field/public office for the paperwork to start the application process. The link below will have more information.