GN BOS00504.270 Reply to a “Show Cause Order” Advising SSA of Potential Guardian Appointment (RTS 2-83 – 5/2003)
Upon the filing of petitions for appointment of conservators and/or guardians for individuals who are receiving benefits administered by SSA, field offices in the State of Maine receive formal notices. Article 5, section 5-405 (b) of the Maine Probate Code, Title 18-A of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated requires this notice be sent to interested persons. Section 5-406 states, “Any governmental agency paying or planning to pay benefits to the person to be protected is an interested person in protective proceedings.”
The notice sent to SSA is intended to give us an opportunity to object to the granting of the petition. SSA is not legally required to respond to this notice. However, the receipt of one of these notices serves to alert us to the possible need for representative payee development.
While the notice or eventual appointment of a guardian has no legal bearing on our issuance of payments or selection of a representative payee, the district office should respond to the notice. A letter, in accordance with the procedures outlined in GN 00504.270 and NL 00703.773, should be sent to the petitioner or his attorney. This letter notifies the petitioner that SSA has no legal interest in the appointment proceedings and also advises that the appointed conservator/guardian must still file an application with SSA if they wish to become the beneficiary’s representative payee. The FO should also send a copy of the letter to the clerk of the court issuing the show cause order.
C. WAIVER OF NOTICE
Some attorneys request that SSA waive its right to receive court notification of change in guardianship. Field Office personnel may not sign the waiver. Signing the waiver means that the agency will not receive further notices of any proceedings, hearings, or orders in the matter at issue. Because SSA must keep informed of any proceedings in probate court, SSA must decline signing the waiver.
POMS GN 00504. 270, Reply To A “Show Cause Order” Advising SSA of Potential Guardian Appointment.