Stephanie Holland, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
Your parents were there for you when you were born. They’ve been with you through the most important achievements of your life. Now it’s your turn to show them that they can count on you. As your parents get older, they may need help making decisions. When you volunteer to become a representative payee, you’re supporting your parents and their future.
A representative payee is someone who receives Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on behalf of a person not capable of managing the funds on his or her own. As a representative payee, you would make sure your parents’ basic needs are met by using the money to provide them with food, clothing, and shelter. Any leftover money goes into an interest-bearing account or savings bond for your parents’ future needs. You’re responsible for keeping records of expenses, and we request yearly reports to see how you’ve used or saved the benefits.
Other representative payee duties include knowing your parents’ needs so you can decide the best way to meet those needs with the benefits provided and telling us about any changes that may affect your parent’s eligibility for benefits or the payment amount.
If your parents receive Social Security or SSI benefits and are unable to manage their finances, or you think that may be the case in the future, take the time to become familiar with the responsibilities of a representative payee and consider becoming one.
To learn more about becoming a representative payee, you can read our publication, A Guide for Representative Payees, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs and visit the webpage, “When People Need Help Managing Their Money,” at www.socialsecurity.gov/ payee. Or, call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to request an appointment.
Take the steps to ensure your parents have a safe and comfortable future. After all they’ve done for you over your lifetime, volunteering as a representative payee is just one way to show how much you care for and appreciate them. Social Security will always be there for you and your parents through life’s journey.