TN 9 (04-11)
GN 00602.120 Attempts to Direct Payee's Use of Benefits
A. Background on payee’s use of benefits
Sometimes a court, a public agency, a legal guardian, or someone else will attempt to direct the disposition of benefits certified to a payee. An inquiry, protest, or court order may be the first notice of a situation that needs investigation and remedial action.
B. Procedure on payee’s use of benefits
1. Inquiry received on payee’s use of benefits
Obtain full information from the payee about his/her proposed use and the circumstances that gave rise to the objection or protest.
If a question arises about the payee's use of benefits, obtain an accounting report to verify that the payee is properly discharging his/her duties and responsibilities.
If the payee is properly discharging his/her responsibilities and should continue as payee, provide the payee with a copy of section 205(j) or 1631(a)(2) of the Social Security Act and subpart U of Regulations No. 4 or subpart F of Regulations No. 16. The payee can use these documents to explain his/her legal duties to the inquiring State agency, court, guardian, or other person. In some instances, the State agency, court, guardian, or other person will withdraw the objections after being informed of the payee’s legal duties under social security law and regulations.
If the inquiry reveals the payee is not properly discharging his/her responsibilities, consider an investigation into misuse of benefits. For additional information on misuse of benefits, see GN 00604.001 through GN 00604.075.
2. Legal Action Taken on payee’s use of benefits
If at any time the field office (FO) learns that a court has initiated an action or issued an order requiring a payee to resign, turn benefits over to another, or use the benefits in a specific manner, the FO will notify the regional office (RO) for consultation with the regional chief counsel (RCC).
On a case-by-case basis, the RO may determine the need to seek RCC assistance in drafting a letter to the payee explaining that social security law governs a payee’s use of benefits. The payee may use that letter to pursue the matter further with the court. Do not contact the court directly.