I’ve heard it several times now, family members acting as someone’s representive payee for social security benefits and not doing what they should do, or acting in a threatening and bullying manner to manipulate someone into doing what they want to release funds. What many payee’s don’t realise is that they are a simple phone call or letter away from spending time in a federal pentientiary. The Social Security Administration has very strict rules on how money is required to be spent. Failure to spend money on these things, in this order is considered misuse of benefits and something the representive payee will be required to be personally financially and even criminally responsible for.
- housing and utilities
- medical and dental expenses;
- personal care items;
- clothing; and
- rehabilitation expenses (if you’re disabled).
In social securities rules those expenses must be paid first. After that any debts can be paid off, money be set aside for personal improvement and entertainment as well as savings. If a payee refuses to pay your rent, your electric or water bill, to provide money for food, or any other expenses on this list they are violating the law and should be reported to the Social Security Administration.
Payees are also required to update your address with social security, keep your money in a seperate dedicated account from their own money, and account for all money that they have recieved on your behalf.
How To Report A Bad Payee
It is simple to file a complaint against a payee. You can either go down to the local Social Security Field office or Call The Social Security Administration at 1 (800) 772 1213. Be sure to have the social security number of the beneficery and as much detailed information as possible.
Changing Your Payee
Changing your payee is as simple as calling social security or requesting that someone file on your behalf to be your payee. If someone is filing on your behalf information should be included as to why your current payee is not working out including factual information.
Remember – Failure to meet your responsibilities as a payee is a federal offense!