The Social Security Act requires SSA to provide advance notice to any legally competent
individual before appointing a representative payee. Once a determination of incapability
is established and a payee has been selected, advance notice of the proposed payee
appointment must be afforded the beneficiary, or the person who can act for the beneficiary per GN 00503.100E., prior to certification of benefits to the proposed payee. (See GN 00501.015 for notice responsibility.)
The decision to appoint a representative payee (the capability determination) and
the selection of the payee are both initial determinations and therefore carry appeal
rights (see GN 00503.110 for Appeal Rights). Advising the beneficiary (or the person who can act for him)
of his/her due process and appeal rights using the advance notice is a legal requirement.
Do not send the current payee an advance notice unless he/she is one of the individuals
described in GN 00503.100E. Instead, a final notice as described in GN 00503.130 must be sent to the former payee when the change is made.
EXCEPTION: Advance notice is not required for beneficiaries living in foreign countries (see
GN 00503.130 and GN 00505.044). Also, in certain situations, an advance notice is not sent to a parent (See GN 00503.100E.2.).
NOTE: Contacting the current payee to obtain input on a proposed change of payee action
is a procedural requirement, as described in GN 00504.100B.1. Sending the advance notice and contacting the current payee are two different requirements
and should not be confused.
REMINDER: As an initial determination, the law requires that SSA provide the beneficiary with
advance notification of the payee decision prior to certification of benefits to the
proposed payee. Receiving a signed statement (e.g., SSA-4164) along with the SSA-11,
Request to Be Selected as Payee, does not satisfy the advance notice requirement because
a payee has not yet been selected. See GN 00503.100B.1. for instructions on when the SSA-4164 may be used.
1. When to Provide Advance Notice
Advance notice must be provided when:
a payee appointment will be made, whether an initial appointment or a change of payee
(including title II beneficiaries who are technically entitled);
a child will continue to have a payee after the child attains age 18;
benefits are resumed to the same payee after nonpayment of 6 or more months (as described
in GN 00504.160);
a beneficiary has the same payee when reentitled after correct termination of benefits
(as described in GN 00504.180).
Give the beneficiary advance notice once incapability is established and a proposed
payee has been selected. When disability is involved, advance notice should not be provided until the DDS has
made a favorable decision.
The contents of the advance notice must inform the beneficiary that SSA has determined
that a payee is needed, the name of the proposed payee, and the beneficiary's right
to appeal. The notice will also advise the beneficiary that if no protest is received
within 10 days of the receipt of the notice, payment will be made to the payee as
stated in the notice. It also explains the 60-day reconsideration period. (The notice
language is shown in NL 00703.763 - NL 00703.769.)
NOTE: Since no payee application is needed when a child's payee will continue after the
child attains age 18 (situation b. above), the advance notice has to be prepared manually.
CAUTION: Since no advance notice is sent to beneficiaries living in foreign countries, the
final notice in those cases must include a full explanation of appeal rights.
3. SSA-4164 (Advance Notification of Representative Payment)
The SSA-4164 provides the beneficiary (or legal guardian/representative who can act for the beneficiary)
with advance notification of representative payment. When the SSA-4164 is used as
the advance notification, a signed copy must be given to the beneficiary and a signed
one must be retained by SSA, either in an electronic folder (if possible) or in the