20 CFR § 266.1 - Introduction.
(a) Explanation of representative payment. This part explains the principles and procedures that the Board follows in determining whether to make representative payment and in selecting a representative payee. It also explains the responsibilities that a representative payee has concerning the use of the funds which he or she receives on behalf of an annuitant. A representative payee may be either a person or an organization selected by the Board to receive benefits on behalf of an annuitant. A representative payee will be selected if the Board believes that the interest of an annuitant will be served by representative payment rather than direct payment of benefits. Generally, the Board will appoint a representative payee if it determines that the annuitant is not able to manage or direct the management of benefit payments in his or her interest.
(b) Statutory authority. Section 12 of the Railroad Retirement Act provides that every annuitant and claimant shall be conclusively presumed to have been competent until the date on which the Board receives a notice in writing that a legal guardian or other person legally vested with the care of the person or estate of an incompetent or a minor has been appointed: Provided, however, That despite receiving such notice, the Board may, if it finds the interests of such annuitant or claimant to be served thereby, recognize actions by, conduct transactions with, and make payments to such annuitant or claimant.
(c) Policy used to determine whether to make representative payment.
(1) In accordance with section 12 of the Railroad Retirement Act, the Board's policy is that every annuitant has the right to manage his or her own benefits. However, some annuitants due to mental or physical condition or due to their youth may be unable to do so. If the Board determines that the interests of an annuitant would be better served if benefit payments were certified to another person as representative payee, the Board will appoint a representative payee in accordance with the procedures set forth in this part. The Board may appoint a representative payee even if the annuitant is a legally competent individual. If the annuitant is a legally incompetent individual, the Board may appoint the legal guardian or some other person as a representative payee.
(2) If payment is being made directly to an annuitant and a question arises concerning his or her ability to manage or direct the management of benefit payments, the Board may, if the annuitant is 18 years old or older and has not been adjudged legally incompetent, continue to pay the annuitant until the Board makes a determination about his or her ability to manage or direct the management of benefit payments and the selection of a representative payee.