How Is a Representative Payee Chosen for Social Security Payments?

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I've heard I'll need someone to receive and cash my SSI checks for me. Can I choose this person, or does Social Security force me to use a certain payee?


The Social Security office handling a claimant's case may decide that a benefit payee (representative payee) is required, or this recommendation may be made by the administrative law judge (ALJ) in the Notice of Decision after an appeal hearing has been held.

A Social Security recipient who has been notified that a representative payee will be needed can propose his or her own payee and go with that individual to their local Social Security office. The payee can be a friend, relative, or family member. The proposed payee cannot have felony convictions and must have a means of support, which can either be a form of employment or even a monthly benefit, such as a Social Security retirement benefit or a Social Security disability benefit. If you don't propose a payee, Social Security may choose a payee from an organization that employs payees.

Learn more about why and how representative payees are assigned.