“I’m sorry but you’re name is not on the records as Elizabeth’s representative payee.”
“But, I am her legal guardian, doesn’t that work?”
“Not for Social Security ( SSA) you need to be her rep payee. Without it, we are not able to speak with you about Elizabeth.”
What proceeded next was Elizabeth having to get on the phone, provide a great deal of information to them to prove her identity (such as her social security number, address, birthday and more) then she had to tell them it was okay to talk with me.
This above process was not without a great deal of stress.
But what about if she couldn’t provide this permission and it was necessary that I talk to them?
The solution was for to request to become Elizabeth’s representative payee or rep payee.
My daughter is 25 years old and receives SSI. I became her legal guardian when she turned 18 but I did not become her rep payee until this year.
Why would someone need a rep payee? Your have a payee because SSA has decided that you need help managing your money. Usually, your rep payee is someone who sees you often, knows you and your needs and wants to help. This comes directly from the SSA website.
What does being a rep payee mean? It means that you have the power to handle the social security benefit for your loved one. You may not handle other sources of money or property for that person unless some other document indicates so.
What are the rules for a payee for Social Security? Your rep payee must use the benefits to pay for the needs of the person they are a rep payee for. This could include payment for food, shelter, clothes, medical care and personal comfort items. Also, the rep payee must tell SSA of events that could change the amount of or affect your right to receive benefits. Such as a new job.
The process to become a rep payee for me, was to call Social Security, set up an appointment to be interviewed for this. My interview was by phone at an appointed time. I had to answer several questions and send in my guardianship paperwork as well.
It was not a long or stressful call, for me, rather one that made me feel calm as I knew it was the correct thing for Elizabeth and her future.
This will help make sure that as she begins working more, or if we move, that I can help her in the best way to make sure she has everything in order with Social Security.
Really it is one less worry and a bit more peace of mind.