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Using Funds / Keeping Records

2007 Des Moines Payee Conference

Using Funds

The most important duty of a representative payee is to know the needs of each beneficiary/recipient for whom they are payee and to use the payments they receive in the best interest of that beneficiary/recipient. As a payee, all payments received from the Social Security Administration (SSA) must be used for the individual's current maintenance needs or saved for future needs. Current needs include:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Medical care
  • Personal comfort items.

NOTE: A payee should not sacrifice current maintenance needs to pay other expenses, or conserve, invest, or accumulate money for a future purpose.

Keeping Records

Representative payees are required to maintain detailed and accurate records of all funds received and spent in order to provide a true accounting to SSA. A detailed record of expenditures may include:

  • Receipts
  • Bank statements (including electronic versions)
  • Leases (rental agreements)
  • Cancelled checks (including electronic versions)
  • Bills
  • Invoices
  • Statements signed by the claimant confirming receipt of funds for personal use

NOTE: A payee must save records for at least two years and make them available to SSA upon request.

An organizational payee must establish some form of accounting system that will track the following information for each beneficiary/recipient:

  • How much money was received
  • How much money was spent
  • The balance saved, if any

In addition to the above documentation, individual payees may use a worksheet or ledger to document all deposits and expenses for the beneficiary/recipient.

NOTE: If the payee is simply acting as a conduit payee, i.e. just giving the money directly to the beneficiary/recipient, follow instructions in GN 00502.020 and GN 00502.055 to determine if direct payment is appropriate. If the payee just gives the money to a third party, such as a beneficiary’s relative, develop the need for a new payee. It's important to remember that although SSA may have already determined a beneficiary's capability at some point in the past, capability can be reevaluated if there is reason to believe it has changed. Portal to U.S. government agencies Privacy Policy | Website Policies & Other Important Information | Site Map
Last reviewed or modified Monday Jan 14, 2008
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