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Frequently Asked Questions

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If you are the representative payee for someone, you must report to us any changes that may affect the person’s benefit payments.
 
You must tell us if:

  • The beneficiary moves;
  • The beneficiary starts or stops working, no matter how little the earnings amount;
  • A disabled beneficiary’s medical condition improves;
  • The beneficiary starts receiving another government benefit or the benefit amount changes;
  • The beneficiary travels outside the United States for 30 days or more;
  • The beneficiary is imprisoned for a crime that carries a sentence of more than one month;
  • The beneficiary is committed to an institution by court order for a crime committed because of a mental impairment;
  • Custody of a child beneficiary changes or a child is adopted;
  • The beneficiary is a stepchild, and the parents divorce;
  • The beneficiary gets married;
  • The beneficiary no longer needs a payee; or
  • The beneficiary dies.

 If the beneficiary gets SSI, you must also tell us if:

  • The beneficiary moves to or from a hospital, nursing home, correctional facility or other institution;
  • A married beneficiary separates from his or her spouse, or they begin living together again after a separation;
  • Someone moves into or out of the beneficiary’s household; or
  • The beneficiary or their spouse has a change in income, resources, or living arrangements.

If you fail to report any changes to us timely (within 10 days after the end of the month in which the change occurred) we may pay the beneficiary too much money and you may have to return the money the beneficiary was not due. These payments may stop and we may decide to appoint someone more suitable to act as representative payee.

If you knowingly make a false or misleading statement or knowingly fail to report important changes, we may impose a sanction against your current or future SSI and/or Social Security benefits. The first sanction period is a withholding of payments for 6 months. The second sanction period is a withholding of payments for 12 months. Subsequent sanction periods are for 24 months. If you intentionally withhold information to continue to receive payments, you may face criminal prosecution. Criminal penalties can include fines and imprisonment.

More Information
A Guide for Representative Payees
Frequently Asked Questions for Representative Payees
 

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