COLUMN: Representative payees help you manage your Social Security

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

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By Lisa Wallace
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in North Carolina

Some people who receive monthly Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income payments may need help managing their money. When we receive information that shows you need help, we’ll work with you to find the most suitable representative payee to manage your benefits.

A representative payee receives your monthly benefit payment on your behalf and must use the money to pay for your current needs, including:

• Housing and utilities.
• Food.
• Medical and dental expenses.
• Personal care items.
• Clothing.
• Rehabilitation expenses (if you have a disability).

If you need help managing your benefits, tell a Social Security representative that there is someone you want to be your representative payee. Your representative payee should be someone you trust and see often, and who clearly understands your needs. Social service agencies, nursing homes, or other organizations are also qualified to be a representative payee.

Ask them to contact us.

You can write to us within 60 days of being assigned a representative payee if you don’t agree that you need one or if you want a different representative payee.

We also offer an option, called, Advance Designation, which allows you to designate now someone to be your representative payee in the future. In the event you can no longer make your own financial decisions, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing that someone you trust may be appointed to manage your benefits for you.

You can submit your advance designation request when you apply for benefits or after you are already receiving benefits. You may do so through your personal my Social Security account at or by calling and speaking to a Social Security representative.

You can find more information at