Representative payee

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A representative payee is an individual authorized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to receive benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, on behalf of a recipient who is not competent to manage their legal affairs. The Social Security Representative Payee webpage explains that the “Representative Payment Program provides benefit payment management to [their] beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their Social Security or Supplemental Security Income.” The SSA states that they will first look to “friends or family members,” and if none are suitable, then they will look for a “qualified organization” to manage the recipient’s benefits. It also provides a telephone number for individuals who are concerned that a benefit recipient is incapable of managing their benefits to reach the SSA and request consideration of enrollment into the Representative Payment Program. 

[Last updated in April of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]