A representative payee is a person or organization assigned to handle Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for a disabled individual. Any person that is unable to manage their own benefits or to direct someone else to manage their benefits for them must have a representative payee.
The representative payee is required to provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with detailed information on a regular basic about how benefits are spent. This is the purpose of the form SSA-623.
Why This Form is Important
A payee acts as an advocate and accountant for a disabled individual. They have financial responsibility for managing benefits received through:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments
The payee is ultimately responsible for ensuring SSDI and/or SSI benefits are spent:
- in the way the disabled person needs in order to pay for everyday living expenses and for medical needs
- only on expenses or in ways that are approved by the SSA.
Any benefit funds that are not needed immediately must be saved to cover future expense for the disabled individual. Ensuring this occurs is also one of the payee’s responsibilities.
Form SSA-623 requires the representative payee to account for all benefit funds issued within a particularly time period. The SSA sends notices for this form to be completed on an intermittent schedule.
Whenever a payee receives notice that Form SSA-623 is required, they must fill it out and return in within the timeframe allotted in the notice. This timeframe to complete and return the form is only 10 days from the date the notice was generated. Failure to submit the form as required can result in a payment delays and can even lead to SSDI and/or SSI benefits being stopped.
Filling Out the Form
A representative payee must keep detailed records of all financial activity related to the benefits he or she manages, but this is not the only information the SSA requests on the Representative Payee Report Form. Keep the following in mind when completing Form SSA-623:
- Keep your accounting records up to date and have them handy. Do not fall behind on keeping records about how disability payments are spent or saved. The SSA defines the “report period” or time frame for which accounting records are needed. You will find this date range near the top of the form, near your name. Ensure you provide details of all monies spent or saved during the report period.
- Answer all questions honestly and completely. Some questions on this form pertain to you. Others are about the disabled individual for whom you manage benefits. Many questions only have to be answered if you are the representative payee for a minor child or a disabled adult child. Read all instructions thoroughly and ensure you complete all required questions honestly and completely.
- Provide bank account information. The SSA knows what account they deposit benefit funds to each month. This many not be the only account used for managing benefit monies though. Ensure you provide accurate bank account information for all checking, savings, and other accounts used during the report period.
- Continue keeping detailed and organized records of all disability benefit monies spent or saved. The SSA periodically issues requests for you to fill out Representative Payee Report forms. You have an ongoing responsibility as the payee to keep detailed accounting records and you will need these records each time you receive a request to complete another report form.
- Hang onto receipts, canceled checks, and other documentation. The SSA does not want you to turn in these documents at the time you complete Form SSA-623. They can request these records later, if they need to verify the information you provide.
Under some circumstances, the SSA allows representative payees to fill out report forms online. Others must complete and mail hardcopy reports to the address of the notice they receive. The notice you get informs you of your options for filling out and submitting Form SSA-623. Ensure you turn in the completed form by the deadline date and always keep a copy of all SSA documents for your records.