Has anyone applied to become representative payee for Social Security payments?


I wanted to know if anyone applied to become their elderly parent's representative payee. I went into my local Social Security Office and I was told that I need to bring my elderly parent into the office for the interview and they would need to sign a form saying that they agree with someone taking over their payments. My concern is that my elderly parent may not be competent enough to sign the paperwork or refuse to go. Any suggestions or help would be great.

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The greatest site I know, with answers is social security works. Com.
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Seems a good place to ask this. While applying for SSI for my daughter, I was told that my mother was listed as a resident alien. I have an apt. for the daughter tomorrow (that's going to be interesting--she was dictating answers to me to the questions on the forms, and when asked what housework she did, she said "I flush, sometimes." Anyway, my mother has given me a copy of the POA which says I can deal with SSl, her cert. of naturalization, her old SS card (with her maiden name) her marriage certificate and my father's death certificate, in the hopes she won't have to make a visit. Any hope this will work?
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I have been told conflicting information. When I called, I was told that I needed to furnish my temporary guardianship award and a doctor's note showing incapacity. When I went to the office I was told that I needed to bring my elderly parent with me and that we both would be interviewed. The problem with bringing in the elderly parent is that they will likely not go or think that I am up to something. I did check the site but I cannot find a chat window to reach out to someone and the Social Security Customer Service phone line has an excessive wait time. So I am really confused as to what to do here.
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muddie38: You should go on SSA.gov and there you will find that you can actually "speak/message" an agent through a chat window. Just make sure to first type "representative payee" to get into the right area.
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Disgustedtoo, I did not change accounts, I changed his mailing address, as far as any future problems with the federal government, I am not the least bit concerned, I am his representative via POAs and I can show where every penny of his SS check has been paid. I guess if you were worried about your actions the fear of big brother might be valid but, since I use his money only for him with records, no worry. Hey maybe if they come snooping around they'll reimburse me for fuel, lunches out, wear and tear on my truck and maybe pay me something for all the hours I put in handling all of his business, never know. I suppose that there are lots of people financially exploiting their parents, I am not one and I would not hesitate to open his books to the FG.

I only handle what my dad requested me to handle, taking his access to the money away was for his protection at his request, he had been sadly abused and exploited, severe Stockholm syndrome. He knew enough to know I would always keep his best interests first and foremost. Oh by the way, they knew at SS that the address was a mailing address. I suppose one can always question motive and be pessimists about every thing. Right now I don't need anyone telling my dad he can't have money to buy his beanyweenies, he's already lost to much.
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What happened to me was the most devastating part of my journey so far with early onset-Dementia possible ALZ. I was approved for SSDI about a year and a half ago, remarkably 52 days after my app was submitted. I then received a letter stating I needed to apply for benefits for my two minor children 17 and 9 at the time. I was told I had to go in to the SSI office to apply for them.
The devastating part was after waitiing 2 1/2 hrs to see someone, I was told I could not apply for benefits on their behalf, I was legally mentally incompetent and terminally ill and that the children would have to have a representative payee. The doctors had not told me I was mentally incompetent, nor terminally ill. To hear this from someone that worked for SSI almost made me collapse in my chair. I was told my DW could be their Rep Payee. That however was going to require that she be interviewed and personally show up at the SSI Office to sign the paperwork. Typical Government service, they could have told me initially that she that had to come along with me. Another couple of hours sitting in the office of SSI and we were there about 15 minutes. The first benefit checks for the kids arrived 14 days later. That part went smoothly.
Rep Payee's must keep good records of how the money is spent. In the case of our youngest her average monthly meds are $250.00 a month, that alone chews up a nice part of money, we charge rent to cover her share of household expenses including food, and Yes, you can take the dependent on vacation. Just make sure you have good receipts. Also make sure you have a copy of a Govt issued Photo ID and one of for your dependent. I like to use my passport instead of a Drivers License. I hope this is of some help.
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Found the SSA FAQ's - here are a few interesting ones:

"Being an authorized representative, having power of
attorney, or a joint bank account with the beneficiary
is not the same as being a payee. These arrangements
do not give legal authority to negotiate and manage a
beneficiary's Social Security and/or SSI benefits. In order
to be a payee, you must apply for and be appointed by
Social Security."

Note the important word there - legal - referring to SS.

"What About "Power of Attorney"?

"Power of attorney is a legal process where one
individual grants a third party the authority to
transact certain business for that individual. It
does not lessen the rights of the individual and
does not usually grant the third party the right
to manage the individual's assets. It typically
makes no finding about the individual’s capability
or competence. The Treasury Department does
not recognize power of attorney for negotiating
federal payments, including Social Security or SSI checks.

This means, if you have power of attorney for someone
who is incapable of managing his or her own benefits,
you must still apply to serve as his or her payee."

I disagree with the statement they made: "...does not usually grant the third party the right to manage the individual's assets..." as our DPOA clearly states we can act as fiduciary, and makes specific references to money, credit, trusts, property, etc. HOWEVER, disregarding that, it still makes it clear that the Feds do NOT honor any POA and says you still must apply.

They refer to the following if you have more questions (there are plenty more, I only chose the payee references):


For those who were able to change address by phone when the person was living with you, that's great! Personally, in thinking about it, they should NEVER allow this.
How would they really know if that is the person or not? No id, can't see the person -
seems to be a rather dangerous way to handle this. That is my opinion, but moving on, if that person has moved to AL, then the following applies as well:

"You must report the following events as soon as possible.
Call us at 1-800-772-1213, or contact your local Social
Security office. Note: there are additional changes and
events for SSI beneficiaries at the end of the list.

The beneficiary dies;
The beneficiary moves;"

There are more, but the "moves" was the reason I snagged this. If they no longer live with you, they have moved. Also, as I mentioned in another comment, call the local SS number, not the 800 number unless you enjoy being on hold!
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akdaughter - agreed about the no need for additional paperwork - things I would like to be doing are put on hold too often trying to juggle some other thing that rears it's ugly head. However, once you apply and are approved, and then set up the account, there's not a big difference. Since pension and SS only cover half of the MC, that report they each want will only have monthly portion of rent on it - the remaining money that is fed in from the trust pays for the remainder of the rent and any little odds and ends that must be covered. THAT I do not need to report to anyone, unless my brothers ask, and so far they are fine with not being involved. Once the SS account was set up to do electronic deposit, it just means I write two checks to the MC place instead of one.

That said, I did a lookup on this. From ssa.gov/pubs/10076.html, which is titled "A Guide for Representative Payees" (probably the same book they sent to me):

"Family members often use a power of attorney as
another way to handle a family member’s finances. For
Social Security purposes, a power of attorney isn’t an
acceptable way to manage a person’s monthly benefits.
Social Security recognizes only the use of a designated
representative payee for handling the beneficiary’s funds."

Do what you want people, but me, I prefer CYA. You think this is extra paperwork? If they for some reason check into things, you'll have a lot of explaining and paperwork to do!
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I never became the representative payee for my mom. I held POA and was joint on her checking account. When it started to become difficult for her to keep track of important mail, we called the SS office on speaker phone and asked to change her mailing address to my address. All mom had to do was tell the person that she was giving permission for me to talk to them. We also changed the mailing address on her bank account. When mom moved to AL in my town a few months later, this was already done. Becoming representative payee requires a dedicated bank account titled "For the benefit of". There are also annual reports that must be sent to SS showing where the money was spent. I really didn't want more paperwork and an additional bank account to deal with. My legal advisor told me that as long as mom had not been declared legally incompetent (meaning by a court of law), there was no requirement to have a representative payee.
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Don’t forget when your entrusted with there funds, there’s a law called the claw back rule, and unless they the person your taking care of has no funds, no back Account’s, no money what so ever you can’t put them in a home. Medicare does not pay for nursing homes, it’s Medicaid that pays. They must have no assets at all, or there going to make you pay for All there needs, those accounts must be gone 5 yrs before there put into nursing home, that’s  where the claw back rule comes into play. Get someone who specializes in this. Good luck.
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