Limitations: Understanding what we can and cannot do.
While the Social Security Administration appointment grants significant authority to a Representative Payee, it is important to understand there are limits to this power. Many times, the lack of resources or constraints imposed by organizations who decide benefits limit what we are able to do for a client. Here are a list of duties we are required to perform as a Representative Payee:
- Determine the client’s needs and use his or her payments to meet those needs;
- Save any money left after meeting the client’s current needs in an interest bearing account or savings bonds for the client’s future needs;
- Report any changes or events which could affect the client’s eligibility for benefits or payment;
- Keep records of all payments received and how we spent and saved them;
- Provide benefit information to social service agencies or medical facilities that serve the client;
- Direct our clients to community partners who will assist our clients with receiving and establishing appropriate medical care and medical insurance coverage
- Report to the Social Security Administration any changes that would affect our performance or our continuing as payee;
- Complete written reports accounting for our use of funds; and
- Return to the Social Security Administration any payments to which the client is not entitled.
And here is a list of internal policies we have established over the course of our tenure serving as Representative payee to the community:
- We cannot provide any transportation, however we have a list of community resources to help our client’s with transportation.
- We make every attempt to ensure on a basic level that housing and utilities costs are paid before we distribute personal funds.
- We will not distribute any funds until a stable and consistent budget has been established that ensures our clients have safe housing, heat and that their priority needs are met. We define priority needs as housing, utilities, and medical care/insurance expenses.