Understanding the Role and Responsibilities of a Representative Payee

Many Huntington’s disease (HD) impacted individuals are required to get a Representative payee when they are approved for Social Security disability, this includes SSDI and SSI. This is common with HD disability approvals because of the cognitive decline associated with the disease. Representative payees are appointed by Social Security if the disabled individual is not able to manage their benefits, or money in general. This decision is determined by medical records or an in-person evaluation with your local Social Security office.  

Who can be a representative payee?

The individual with HD does have a say in who will act as their representative payee. It can be a family member, friend, or a qualified organization. Social Security then must determine if the appointed individual meets their criteria for who can act as the representative payee. To be a payee, you must apply for and be appointed by Social Security. You can do this by completing the SSA-11-BK. Having power of attorney or sharing a joint bank account is not the same as being a payee and will not guarantee an automatic appointment, but it often helps. Social Security uses a qualified organization if there is not a trusted family member or friend available. Find more information here. 

What are a representative payee’s responsibilities?

A representative payee’s main duties are to use the benefits for the current and future needs of the disabled individual. This includes expenses like rent, utilities, medical care, clothing, and hobbies.  A representative payee is also responsible for reporting any changes that could affect eligibility for payments and keeping records of all payments received and expenses. Every year, the representative payee will be required to complete a form to account for how the benefits have been spent. This can be done online. You can find out more about record keeping requirements and what you are required to report to Social Security here. 

If you have questions, you can always Ask Allison!