The Social Security Administration's Representative Payment Program provides assistance to the most vulnerable members of society-the young, the elderly, and the disabled who are unable to manage their Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
For some individuals, traditional networks of support such as responsible family or friends are not available or feasible. In that case, SSA looks to other qualified state, local or community sources to fill the need. These sources are called Representative Payees.
A representative payee is an individual or organization appointed by SSA to receive Social Security and/or SSI benefits for individuals who are unable to manage or direct someone else to manage his or her money.
The main responsibility of a Representative Payee is to use the individual’s benefits to pay for his or her current and foreseeable needs and to properly save any benefits not needed to meet current needs.
Options for Independence has a dedicated Benefits Advisor whose main responsibility is to handle the Representative Payee Program and assist with Social Security-related issues.
Individuals interested in having Options manage their money are required to choose a Responsible Advocate who will assist them in preparing a monthly budget. Together they will complete a monthly voucher itemizing expenses that Options will pay for them. Basic living expenses, such as food, shelter and utilities, must always be paid first.
It is Options intent to work with the consumer and their advocate so that, if possible, the consumer can become financially responsible and ultimately take back direct control of their benefits.
Once a consumer is interested in the Payee Program at Options, a contract is signed between Options for Independence and the consumer.
Options does charge an administrative fee to operate this program. The Social Security Administration allows for this fee. Options normally charges thirty-five dollars for this service and will also work with the consumer to determine that this amount he/she is able to pay.
For additional information about Options for Independence’s Representative Payee Program, contact Felicia Thompson at 315-255-3447 ext. 316 or e-mail her at: