Becoming a representative payee allows you to help a person who receives benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or Veteran’s Administration (VA) manage their money and help them live their lives more comfortably. Most people who first seek to become a representative payee don’t understand the position, the process of becoming one, or what they need to do after they have accepted the position. That’s why we have put together a quick but comprehensive guide to becoming a representative payee.
Find out everything you need to know about the position.
What is a Representative Payee?
Representative payees are people who are charged with using the benefits distributed to a vulnerable person to pay for their basic needs. There are two basic types of representative payees:
- Veteran’s Affairs Representative Payees: also called a VA Fiduciary, these are people who are appointed to manage the funds distributed by The Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
- Social Security Representative Payee: a person who has been appointed to administer the benefits provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.
What are the Duties of a Representative Payee?
The primary responsibility of a representative payee is to pay for the “current and foreseeable needs” of the beneficiary. Any money that is left over from the person’s VA or SSA benefits is meant to be set aside as savings.
A representative payee can use a protected person’s benefits to:
- Pay bills (rent, utilities, etc.)
- Purchase food, clothing, and other necessities
Leftover funds can also be used for (if they qualify):
- Home repairs
- Household items
- Schooling, classes, etc.
Representative payees must also complete a report on how the funds were spent on behalf of the beneficiary, and an annual report must also be filed by certain representative payees. These reports detail records of bank statements, cancelled checks, receipts for rent, etc. It’s important to keep organized financial records that show how the funds received are being used or saved.
One major mistake many people make is mixing the funds they receive from SSA, the VA, or SSI with funds from other accounts. Always create a separate bank account to store all funds received for the purposes of taking care of the beneficiary.
It’s also important to file life changes to the SSA or VA. These life changes can include:
- Changes in roommates
- Being placed in a hospital, care center or other institution
- Gaining or losing employment
- Being convicted of a crime
- Beginning to receive child support or benefits from another organization
- Has a change in their disability or condition
How to Become a Representative Payee in Minnesota
Representative payee services are qualified by submitting an application to the Social Security Administration or VA for veterans’ benefits. A person must be 18 years or older to apply online. If you are under 18, a paper form must be completed. People who become representative payees are often close family members of the person receiving the benefits, including:
It’s important to choose a reliable person who can be trusted to properly manage and administer the funds that are allocated to the beneficiary.
A person or organization can become a representative payee of SSA by completing the Representative Payee Accounting Report online. In order to apply to be a representative payee for VA, a person must apply using the VA website. A request must be submitted with the beneficiary‘s name and VA file number.
A Representative Payee Bond Will Have to Be Obtained
Before a person can become a representative payee in Minnesota, they will need to obtain a surety bond from a recognized surety. Representative payee bonds provide protection for the beneficiary in the event that the representative payee mishandles funds. They are essential to the process of applying to become a representative payee.
If you are in need of a representative payee bond in Minnesota, trust our team of surety experts to help you get the bond you need to provide crucial care for your loved one. Get in touch with us today to get the process started.
Disclaimer: this is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. If you need legal counsel, please contact an attorney directly.