Opinion — You can get help managing Social Security

Published 4:25 pm Friday, December 10, 2021

Some people who receive monthly Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income payments may need help managing their money. When Social Security receives information that shows you need help, it will 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 Social Security. 

You can write to Social Security 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.

Social Security also offers an option called “Advance Designation,” which allows you to designate someone now 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 www.ssa.gov/myaccount or by calling and speaking to a Social Security representative.

You can find more information at www.ssa.gov/payee.

Lizna Odhwani is a Social Security public affairs specialist in Virginia. Contact her at Lizna.Odhwani@ssa.gov.