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
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:
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.
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
2. Action to change representative payee
To change the representative payee:
Use the SSA-11 or establish direct payment. Obtain information regarding possible
deduction or termination events such as:
non-citizenship restrictions; or
NOTE: If the child receives SSI benefits, we require a redetermination (RZ).
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.