SSA finalizes rule regarding advanced designation of representative payees for Social Security beneficiaries
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

SSA finalizes rule regarding advanced designation of representative payees for Social Security beneficiaries

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The SSA has finalized its proposed regulations specifying the information Social Security beneficiaries and applicants must provide to designate individuals as their possible representative payee in advance of an SSA determination that the beneficiary needs a representative payee. The regulations additionally set forth how the agency will consider an individual's advance designation when it selects a representative payee, and fulfill the SSA’s obligation under Section 201 of the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018. The final rule became effective on February 25, 2020.

Background.Under the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) of November 26, 2019), the SSA proposed that applicants or beneficiaries may designate one or more potential representative payees, provided that the agency has not determined the applicant or beneficiary to be mentally or physically incapable of managing benefit payments, or that the applicant or beneficiary has not been found legally incompetent. Consistent with the Strengthening Protections Act, the SSA proposed to permit advance designations of individuals only, not organizations.

The SSA also proposed that eligible individuals may designate potential representative payees in advance by providing the agency with the information it requires. This required information includes the name and telephone number of each advance designee and the priority order in which the individual would like the SSA to consider the advance designees, if more than one is designated. The SSA noted that current systems limitations allow it to receive up to three advance designations. In addition, the agency proposed to consider advance designees first when selecting a representative payee. When the SSA determines that a representative payee is necessary, it would first review the advance designees previously identified by the individual (if any) in the order of priority established by the individual. Finally, the SSA proposed that individuals who are eligible to make advance designations may withdraw or revise their advance designations at any time, provided that at the time of modification they are still eligible to make advanced designations. Individuals could withdraw or revise their advance designations by informing the SSA of the change in writing, in person, by telephone, or by direct electronic submission through the website. The agency also proposed that individuals who wish to revise their advance designations must provide the required information for any newly designated individuals. See the story in Report Letter 1264, dated December 17, 2019.

For more information. For further information, contact Peter Smith, Office of Income Security Programs, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 966-3235. See 85 Fed. Reg. 7661, February 11, 2020.

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