TN 19 (12-11)

GN 00504.220 Adoption of a Child Beneficiary and Representative Payee Actions Needed

A. Adoption of a child beneficiary and when there is a representative payee action needed

If the adopting parent is not the child's current representative payee, determine if the representative payee should change. Obtain an SSA-11 (Request to Be Selected as Payee) and conduct the appropriate development. Continue benefits to the current representative payee until you can process the change. Suspend benefits only if:

  • Possible misuse exists; or

  • The current representative payee is the adoption agency (the adoption terminates the agency's relationship); or

  • You cannot locate the adoptive parent(s) or the adoptive parent does not file as the representative timely.

In these cases, document your findings on the report of contact (RPOC) screen. Suspend benefits until you appoint a new representative payee, unless you can arrange direct payment of benefits. Input the reason for suspense on the Master Beneficiary Record/Supplemental Security Record (MBR or SSR). For title II suspense codes refer to SM 00550.020, and for title XVI suspense codes refer to SM 01601.805.

1. Contact adopting parent as successor payee

To contact the adopting parent as the successor payee:

  1. a. 

    Develop to appoint the adoptive parent as payee unless the child qualifies for direct payment. For information on developing capability for children, refer to GN 00502.070.

  2. b. 

    If the current payee is the agency that arranged the adoption, but the agency will not identify the adoptive parent, ask the agency to advise the adoptive parent to file as the representative payee. If the adoption agency notifies the adoptive parent to file as the payee, and the adoptive parent refuses to file, or asks for a waiver of benefits (e.g., they are afraid the natural parent might find out location of child), take action to suspend the child's benefits, using suspense code S-9 (whereabouts unknown).

2. Action to change representative payee

To change the representative payee:

  1. a. 

    Use the SSA-11 or establish direct payment. Obtain information regarding possible deduction or termination events such as:

    • child's marriage;

    • school attendance;

    • non-citizenship restrictions; or

    • excess earnings, etc.

    NOTE: If the child receives SSI benefits, we require a redetermination (RZ).

  2. b. 

    If the child's surname changes, you must correct SSA’s records. For more information on social security numbers (SSNs) for children prior to adoption, see RM 10225.055. For details on when the field office (FO) cannot approve an application for a new (original) SSN, see RM 10225.066.

3. Waiver of child’s benefits

If the adoptive parent wants to waive the child's benefits, develop per GN 00504.260. Send the waiver request and supporting documentation to the Assistant Regional Commissioner (ARC), Management and Operations Support (MOS), Center for Programs Support (CPS) Retirement, and Survivors, Insurance/Supplemental Security Income (RSI/SSI) Programs Branch, per GN 02409.001B.2.

If a waiver is not in the beneficiary's best interests, continue to develop for a qualified payee, as described in GN 00504.260B.4.

B. Reference

GN 00502.070 Developing Capability - Children

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GN 00504.220 - Adoption of a Child Beneficiary and Representative Payee Actions Needed - 11/23/2015
Batch run: 04/25/2016