Representative Payees for Disability Benefits

Sometimes, a person receiving Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability may not be able to manage their benefits. Whether their limitations are due to a disability or financial strains, a beneficiary can choose to have a representative payee. A representative payee receives benefits on a disabled person's behalf and uses the money to pay for the person's needs. 

The disability attorneys and compassionate staff of the Coye Law Firm work to assist people in all aspects of their disability claims. If you find that you are unable to manage your monthly payments from the Social Security Administration, we can help you determine who can. Call our offices to pursue an appeal and also set up a representative payee for your benefits.

What a Payee Does

A representative payee manages a person's disability benefits. If you are approved for SSD or SSI and assigned a representative payee, they will use your benefits to pay for your needs, including:
  • housing and utilities
  • food
  • medical and dental expenses
  • personal care items
  • clothing
  • rehabilitation expenses
Any money left over after these expenses is used to pay for your past-due bills, support for your dependents, or provide you with entertainment. The representative payee is expected to save any remaining money for you. If the SSA awards you back benefits, your payee could receive a lump sum check. Even though the amount is more than the monthly checks, the payee still needs to pay for your current expenses, such as rent, food, and furnishings. 

Selecting a Payee

Selecting a representative payee involves work between the beneficiary and the Social Security Administration. Most payees are friends or relatives of the person receiving benefits because these individuals know how to use the money on the beneficiary's behalf. The SSA makes the final selection for the representative payee, but they usually choose a friend, relative, or attorney who can help the most.

As a beneficiary, you have your say in choosing a representative payee. You can tell the Social Security Administration if there is someone you'd like to appoint as your payee. Some organizations, such as social service agencies or nursing homes, may offer to serve as payees. Once you notify a representative of your request, the SSA will consider it and give you a decision.


As with most decisions made by the SSA, you have the right to appeal their choice for your representative payee. You have 60 days to appeal the choice if you don't want a specific payee or one at all. If you are already receiving benefits and decide to change the payee that manages your benefits, notify your old and new payee. You can file an application to switch payees at your local Social Security office.

Unfortunately, some payees may take advantage of the fact that they are receiving someone else's benefit checks. It is absolutely essential to discuss your monthly expenses with your payee as soon as they begin to pay for them. Make sure that they are protecting your interests and giving you all the money you are entitled to. If necessary, you may have a contract created to legally protect yourself from lost benefits.

A representative payee is supposed to protect your disability benefits and help you manage your money as efficiently as possible. If you feel that the representative payee system could work better for you, call the Coye Law Firm Disability Center. We can communicate with the Social Security Administration to resolve the situation and ensure that your benefits are managed the way you want them to be.