The preferred account title is (Name of Beneficiary) by (Name of Representative Payee)
Other forms of accounts that establish a fiduciary interest for the beneficiary are
also acceptable. For example, (Name of Beneficiary) by (Name of Representative Payee)
guardian, when the payee is the court-appointed guardian. The same format may be used
for a court-appointed committee, conservator, or other representative, provided it
shows that the representative payee is acting only in a fiduciary capacity for the
Proper account titling affords Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection
with FDIC-insured financial institutions. Proper account titling also protects beneficiary
funds from claims by a payee’s creditor.
For additional information, see –“Collective Savings and Checking Accounts” (GN 00603.020).
Exception for parents and spouses
There is an exception to the general rule that the account title must show the beneficiary's
ownership of the funds in the account. All of the following conditions must be met for this exception to apply:
The payee is the spouse or the natural or adoptive parent or stepparent of the beneficiary;
The payee and the beneficiary live in the same household;
The payee requests direct deposit to the payee's personal checking account; and
The Field Office (FO) has verified with the payee that benefits will be used for the
beneficiary's current expenses and there will be no accumulation of funds in the account.
This exception applies for any category of Title II or Title XVI benefits. The beneficiary
does not need to be receiving benefits as a disabled/blind child or disabled adult
child. The age of the “child” is not material. For additional information, see “Exception”
NOTE: The above titling exception does not apply to savings accounts. We allow the payee to deposit benefits for one or more beneficiaries to their checking
account, if all of the exception criteria described above is met. However, the same
payee cannot deposit the benefits for one or more beneficiaries to their own savings
account. The payee must set up individual savings accounts for each beneficiary. Each savings account title must show beneficiary ownership.
See the examples in GN 02402.055B.1.
IMPORTANT: Benefits should not accumulate in the spouse’s or parent’s checking account. The
spouse or parent should move the accumulated benefits to a properly titled savings
Exception for State or local governmental organizational payees:
SSA may allow an exception to the general account titling rule for agencies of a State
or local government when the State or local government’s accounting structure sufficiently
protects beneficiary interests and clearly identifies what funds belong to the beneficiary.
The requirements for allowing an account titling exception for State or local agencies
serving as payees are described in “Collective Checking and Savings Accounts” (GN 00603.020D.2.).