TN 8 (07-11)
GN 00503.430 Language Describing Legal Basis for the Selection of a Representative Payee
If a state court, state agency, or legal guardian is protesting our selection of a representative payee, incorporate one or more of the following paragraphs in a letter describing the legal basis for our decision.
The designation of payees to receive Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance benefits on behalf of minor children and incapacitated adult beneficiaries is made pursuant to the provisions of section 205(j) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C., section 405(j)) which reads as follows:
"If the Commissioner of Social Security determines that the interest of any individual under this title would be served thereby, certification of payment of such individual's benefit under this title may be made, regardless of the legal competency or incompetency of the individual, either for direct payment to such individual, or for his use and benefit to another individual or an organization."
Pursuant to this provision, the Social Security Administration selects the individual it determines to be in the best position to serve the interests of the beneficiary and to disburse the benefits on his or her behalf. The appointment or existence of a legal guardian or other fiduciary does not limit the discretionary authority conferred on the Secretary by section 205(j) of the Social Security Act to select a payee. Court-appointed fiduciaries are however, selected as payees when such designation under the circumstances of the particular case best serves the interests of the beneficiaries.
The individual or organization designated as representative payee under section 205(j) of the Social Security Act, is authorized and directed to apply the Social Security payments for the use and benefit of the beneficiary. The relationship created between the beneficiary and the representative payee is analogous to that type of trust wherein the trustee is directed to use his or her discretion in making proper disbursement of trust funds.