TN 3 (02-97)

GN 00501.010 Definitions of Common Representative Payment Terms

A. Introduction

The definitions in this section are of terms used in both the GN 00502.000 ff. - GN 00504.000 ff. and GN 00602.000 ff. - GN 00605.000 ff. chapters. Definitions of other terms which are used only in one specific section are defined in that section.

B. Definitions

1. Adult

An adult is:

  • a person age 18 or older, or

  • a person under age 18 who is emancipated under State law, or

  • for representative payment purposes, a person age 17 1/2 who is initially filing for benefits or who will be converted to a CDB or DI at age 18.

2. Minor

A minor is a child under age 18 unless the child is emancipated under State law or is 17 1/2 and is initially filing for benefits or will be converted to CDB or DI at age 18.

3. Child Emancipated Under State Law

A child emancipated under State law is a child no longer subject to parental control under the State's laws. A court order is needed in most States.

4. Parent

For representative payment purposes only, a parent is a natural or adoptive parent, not a stepparent. (This is different from the definition of "parent" for determining deeming of income and resources in title XVI cases.)

5. Person Standing in Place of Parent

Person standing in place of a parent is a person who is fulfilling parental duties in the absence of a natural or adoptive parent. An example is a grandparent or stepparent who is taking care of a child because the parents have abandoned him/her, but legal custody has not been determined.

6. Incapability

Incapability is a DECISION BY SSA that a claimant is unable to manage or direct the management of benefits in his/her best interests. An incapability decision is valid only for SSA matters.

7. Legal Incompetency

Legal incompetency is a decision by a court of law that a claimant is unable to manage his/her affairs. (See GN 00502.300 for the Digest of State Guardianship Laws regarding legal incompetency.)

CAUTION: Do not confuse legal incompetency with the Department of Veteran's Affairs (DVA) finding of competency. A DVA incompetency finding is similar to an SSA incapability determination.

8. Legally Competent Adult

A legally competent adult is an adult who has not been found to be legally incompetent by a court of law. This may include an adult who SSA has determined is incapable of managing or directing the management of funds.

9. Custody

The term "custody" refers to the control and care of the claimant. Temporary changes in custody (e.g., vacations, weekends or other short visits) are not to be considered as a "change in custody" if the claimant is expected to return to his/her original custodian.

Physical custody means that the claimant actually lives with the person or in the institution, nursing home, etc.

Legal custody exists when a court places an individual in the custody of an individual, institution, social agency, etc. Parents of a minor child can have joint legal custody, as decided by a court. In such cases, so long as the child lives with each parent, both parents are considered to have custody.

10. Legal Guardian/Conservator

A legal guardian/conservator is a third party appointed by a court of law to assume control and responsibility for an individual or his/ her estate (for additional information see GN 00502.139.)


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200501010
GN 00501.010 - Definitions of Common Representative Payment Terms - 05/15/2015
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