We are writing about (2) petition in the (3) to be appointed guardian for (4) . Ordinarily, the Social Security Administration does not have the responsibility
to show cause why someone should or should not be a guardian. Since that is true in
this case, we will not appear in court on the appointed day.
We do not automatically pay benefits to a court-appointed guardian of a beneficiary.
Generally, we will appoint a representative payee when we believe that the interest
of the beneficiary will be better served by representative payment than by direct
payment. In order to be appointed representative payee for a beneficiary, the guardian
must file an application with us and show that he or she is the best qualified person
available to serve in that capacity. The individual we select to be representative
payee must use the benefits only for the use and benefit of the beneficiary, and in
a manner and for purposes that are in his or her best interests. We will consider
the benefits to have been properly expended if they were used for the beneficiary's
current maintenance (e.g., board and care, medical expenses, etc.) or to meet any
reasonably foreseeable maintenance needs. The representative payee will be asked to
show how the benefits have been used.
Section 207 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.408) provides that none of the benefits
paid or payable under title II of the Act are subject to legal process. This prohibition
is also applicable to Supplemental Security Income benefits paid or payable under
title XVI by operation of Section 1631(d)(1) of the Act (42 U.S.C. 1383(d)(1). Therefore,
a provision in a court order which attempts to require the Social Security Administration
to pay a beneficiary's benefits to someone other than the beneficiary or his or her
representative payee violates Section 207 of the Act and is unenforceable.
The representative payee may use part of the beneficiary's Social Security funds for
customary court-approved guardianship costs and fees if:
the guardianship is in the beneficiary's best interest,
the beneficiary's personal needs are met first, and
the beneficiary's funds would not be depleted by the guardianship costs.
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