What Is An Advance Designation For A Representative Payee?

The Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (Strengthening Protections Act) amended the Social Security Act to allow for the advance designation of representative payees for recipients of Social Security and other governmental benefits. The  Strengthening Protections Act requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to promulgate regulations specifying the information Social Security beneficiaries and applicants must provide to designate a representative payee in advance of an agency determination that the beneficiary needs a representative payee.

Advance designation gives beneficiaries and claimants under Title II (Retirement Benefits), Title VIII (Special Veterans Benefits) and Title XVI (Supplemental Security Income, or SSI Benefits) the option to provide SSA with the names of individuals whom they would like to serve as their representative payee should they need one in the future.

Background on Representative Payees

Social Security does not recognize powers of attorney. It only recognizes a representative payee.

A representative payee is a person or an organization that the Social Security agency select to receive and manage Social Security benefits, Special Veterans benefits, and SSI payments on behalf of a beneficiary. Generally, beneficiaries have the right to receive their benefits directly and manage them independently. However, SSA may determine that a beneficiary is unable to manage or direct the management of benefit payments because of the beneficiary’s mental or physical condition, or because of the beneficiary’s age. In these cases, SSA appoints a representative payee when the agency finds it will serve the beneficiary’s interest to receive benefits through a representative payee instead of receiving benefits directly.

A representative payee manages the benefit payments, and uses them to provide for the Social Security beneficiary’s current needs, as well as his/her best interest. Similar to a person acting under a power of attorney, the representative payee also must keep appropriate records. If requested the records must be available for review.

Advance Designations of Representative Payees for SSA Benefits

SSA provides the following information about advance designations:

  • Advance designation is the act of naming individuals in advance as potential representative payees for SSA consideration should the need arise. It is not an appointment of a payee;
  • Advance designation is voluntary;
  • Advance designation does not expire with time but can be changed by the beneficiary at any time;
  • The choice to advance designate is not an indication of the beneficiary’s or claimant’s capability to manage or direct the management of SSA benefits;
  • Advance designation is not an indication of an individual’s suitability to serve as payee;
  • Advance designation is not connected to a claim for Title II, Title VIII, or Title XVI benefits and its duration. If SSA denies the claim or the beneficiary stops receiving benefits, the advance designation information remains in the database and can be accessible again once the claimant or beneficiary reapplies for benefits, becomes a beneficiary, or files an appeal;
  • Advance designation is not a power of attorney. In addition, a person named in a power of attorney cannot advance designate on behalf of an incapable or capable beneficiary or claimant.
Who is Eligible to Designate A Representative Payee in Advance?

Adults and emancipated minors are eligible to designate a representative payee in advance if they are:

  • Capable beneficiaries entitled to a benefit under Title II, Title VIII, or Title XVI may advance designate at any time; and,
  • Claimants under Title II, Title VIII, or Title XVI may advance designate during the initial claim or while their claim is pending at the initial, reconsideration, hearing, or Appeals Council levels. If a third-party applicant files the claim, SSA will contact the first-party applicant to offer the option to advance designate by telephone or by mailing form SSA-4547 – Advance Designation of Representative Payee.
How Does An SSA Beneficiary Name A Representative Payee In Advance?

After the Strengthening Protections Act, Social Security offers beneficiaries the ability to use Advance Designation to name up to three potential representative payees. This may be done at the time of claiming benefits, or any time after. It can be done online, via phone 1 (800) 772-1213, by mail using Form SSA 4547, or in person.

Form SSA-4547 – Advance Designation of Representative Payee is attached here – [gview file=”https://vanarellilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Advance-Designation-of-Representative-Payee-SSA-4547.pdf”]

For additional information concerning social security disability appeals, visit:

Social Security Disability Appeals