TN 8 (09-23)

GN 00501.015 SSA Operating Components' Responsibilities for Representative Payee Actions


A. Role of the Field Office

The field office (FO) is responsible for developing, investigating, and deciding all “representative payee (payee)” matters.

1. Claims specialist responsibility

FO claims specialists (CSs):

  • determine capability,

  • appoint a payee,

  • resolve reconsiderations of capability determinations.

  • resolve Title II, Title XVI, and concurrent reconsiderations of payee selections during the advance notice period, before the decision has been effectuated, and after the decision has been effectuated.

  • make misuse and negligence determinations in all cases,

  • resolve reconsiderations of Title II, Title XVI, and concurrent misuse and negligence determinations.

  • process change of payee actions beyond the scope of customer service representative (CSR) responsibilities described in GN 00501.015A.2.

NOTE: If the application is being processed in a Workload Support Unit and the applicant is a parent with custody of the beneficiary who is their minor child, or a spouse with custody of the beneficiary who is their spouse, the claims taker documents and completes the capability determination and interviews the payee applicant. For information on interviewing the payee applicant, see GN 00502.113.

2. Customer service representative responsibility

FO customer service representatives (CSRs) may process change of payee actions (including determining capability and initiating changes to or from direct payment), unless:

  • There are two or more equally qualified payee applicants for one beneficiary. (For more information, see GN 00502.130B.2.)

  • There are discrepancies in the evidence of capability. (For more information, see GN 00502.030 and GN 00502.040.)

  • The beneficiary has a drug addiction, alcoholism condition, or both. (For DAA codes, see SM 01601.790C.19. and SM 00510.200.)

  • The payee applicant is a non-relative who does not have custody of the recipient for Title XVI and concurrent applications.

3. Field office notice responsibility

The FO has general responsibility for notices to beneficiaries, payees, and third parties. Specific responsibilities are:

a. Title II cases

The resident FO is responsible for sending advance notices, making systems changes to generate automated notices, and designating notice language for program service center use when preparation of manual notices is required.

b. Title XVI cases

The resident FO is responsible for sending all manually prepared notices and providing data for the Supplemental Security Record (SSR) to generate automated notices

B. Other field office accounting responsibilities

FO personnel, as determined by management, are also responsible for:

  • obtaining accounting forms,

  • resolving S8 and S08 alerts which result in 30-day suspensions while payee information is developed for direct payment when appropriate. (For more information on direct payment development, see GN 00504.105),

  • developing any periodic accounting reports, which cannot be generated by the Wilkes-Barre Direct Operations Center (WBDOC), and

  • processing Title II, Title XVI, and concurrent non-responder accounting cases (“150-day list” and “180-day list”. For more information on non-responder cases, see GN 00605.085).

C. The role of Program Service Center (PSC)

The PSC has responsibility for Title II payee actions that the FO cannot process. PSC responsibilities include:

  • processing any Title II payee determinations that cannot be processed in RPS (i.e., undocumented alien) and the fallout from T2R (alert and exemption processing) (see GN 00502.190),

  • sending Title II manual notices designated by the FO,

  • resolving the PSC S8 suspension alerts,

  • resolving discrepancies and omissions on the annual and final accounting reports, and

  • processing Title II non-responder accounting cases (“third alerts”).

D. The role of Wilkes-Barre Direct Operations Center (WBDOC)

The WBDOC is responsible for:

  • screening accounting reports and clearing controls,

  • approving acceptable periodic accounting reports from the representative payee, and

  • referring any unacceptable or non-responsive accounting requests to the servicing PC or FO for development.

E. Procedure for determining the resident field office

Use the following instructions to determine the resident FO for representative payee purposes:

1. Determining the resident Field Office for initial claims

  • When the principal claimant (as defined in GN 00904.030A) files their own claim, the office servicing the principal claimant's address is the resident FO.

  • When a payee applicant has filed for the principal claimant, the office serving the payee applicant's address is the resident FO.

  • When the principal claimant has a claim pending in one FO, and an auxiliary claimant with a payee applicant has filed in another FO, follow the procedures in GN 00904.030 for determining jurisdiction. The responsibilities of each office are outlined in GN 00501.015E.3.

  • When there are two or more payee applicants, determine the office serving the applicant who is higher on the preference list (see GN 00502.105) to be the resident FO unless the principal claimant has also filed. If the payee applicants are equal in preference, determine the office serving the applicant who filed earliest to be the resident FO.

2. Determining the resident Field Office — post-eligibility

Once a beneficiary is receiving payments, treat any subsequent payee action, including an application for another benefit, as a post-eligibility issue.

  • Determine the resident FO to be the office serving the payee's address.

  • For a beneficiary receiving direct payments, change the resident FO to the office serving the beneficiary's address.

  • When a new payee files an application, give the FO serving the payee applicant's address responsibility for developing the application and making the decision on it.

For information on the servicing FO for misuse allegations, see GN 00604.010B.


Before making the payee change, you must contact the former payee. For instructions on making payee changes, see GN 00504.100B.1.

3. Responsibility of Field Offices receiving a payee application

The FO receiving the payee application must:

  • set all appropriate diaries and ticklers,

  • resolve protests,

  • ensure notices are sent,

  • input the decision,

  • ensure that all needed documentation is in the file (including a statement that contact with the current payee was made per GN 00504.100B.1.).

  • if the current payee is not in eRPS, contact the FO serving their address to obtain any available information about the payee situation to update the eRPS record.


For multiple payees from different FOs, coordinate the development and payee selection over the telephone. Determine the FO that has ownership (per GN 00501.015E.1.) and transfer all other applications to the owner office. Use the Transfer Cases screen in the eRPS for transferring applications. For transferring information use the Transfer Cases screen, see MS INTRANETERPS 008.006.


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GN 00501.015 - SSA Operating Components' Responsibilities for Representative Payee Actions - 09/21/2023
Batch run: 09/21/2023