This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Social Security and the judges really just want to make sure that if they’re giving money to a disabled person that the money will be used properly. They don’t want to hand over cash to someone who doesn’t know how to use it to pay for rent and groceries and can’t remember to pay bills. The point of Social Security benefits is to make sure the disabled person is taken care of.
Who do you pick to be a representative payee? This is not a decision made by Social Security. The disabled person must decide themselves. Usually it’s someone close to you like a family member. Remember this person will be intimately involved in your financial affairs. You need to pick someone you trust and who you feel comfortable calling when you need money. It also needs to be someone you trust not to take your money and use it for themselves. If you don’t have someone that you trust, or simply don’t want to put anyone in your life in that position, there are companies that act as representative payees as well.
Once you have someone that you want to be your representative payee, you need to have that person fill out form SSA-11. It can be found here. The payee will need to open a bank account specifically for the Social Security checks. Once a year, the payee will also need to account for how the money was spent.
If you think Social Security made the decision in error and you really don’t need a representative payee, you can ask for Social Security to make the payments directly to you. You must fill out the same form, SSA-11 but request to be made your own payee and explain why. It will help if you have a note from your doctor explaining why you are competent to handle your own money. You can also request to become your own payee at a later date if you think your condition has improved enough to handle your own money. Just be aware that if you are telling Social Security that your condition has improved they will probably want to assess whether or not you are still disabled.
This blog is an excerpt from Social Security Disability Benefits for Beginners, now available at Amazon.com. If you have any further questions, please contact The Foster Law Firm at (480)621-7231 or at www.fosterlawaz.com.