Identification Number:
GN 00502 TN 58
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP OISP
Title:Determining the Need for, Developing and Selecting a Representative Payee
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part GN – General
Chapter 005 – Selection of Representative Payee
Subchapter 02 – Determining the Need for, Developing and Selecting a Representative Payee
Transmittal No. 58, 10/23/2020

Audience

PSC: CA, CCRE, CS, ICDS, IES, ISRA, NPR, RECONR, SCPS, TSA, TST;
OCO-OEIO: BTE, CCRE, CR, CTE, FCR, PETL, RECONR;
OCO-ODO: BTE, CCE, CR, CST, CTE, CTE TE, DSE, LCC, PETE, PETL, RECONE;
FO/TSC: CS, CS TII, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, DRT, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

OISP

Effective Date

10/26/2020

Background

We updated our instructions on determining capability for child beneficiaries to include the State Emancipation Law Survey Results. This document is a reference to assist with verifying emancipation in each state and territory. In addition, we updated the procedures for obtaining our court orders of guardianship, and revised additional language for clarity.

 

Summary of Changes

GN 00502.070 Developing Capability - Children

We changed the title to Determining Capability - Children. We also reorganized the subsections to improve clarity and navigability.

Subsection A - We changed the title to "Policy for determining capability in children." We reorganized this subsection to improve understanding of when to presume that a child is incapable and when to presume that a child is capable. We also made changes to the 6th and 7th bullets under A.2 to align the language in the POMS with the language in our regulations (20 CFR §§ 404.2010(b) and 416.610(b)).

Subsection B - We moved the information previously in A.2 on when to develop capability in minor children to a new subsection B titled "When is it necessary to develop a minor child's capability?"

Subsection C - We moved the procedures previously in subsection B for developing capability in minor children to a new subsection C titled "Procedure for developing a child's capability." We updated the procedures for obtaining court orders of guardianship and added clarification for when a child has a legal guardian or a foster care agency is involved in the case. We also added the State Emancipation Survey, which provides state-specific guidance on emancipation rules.

Subsection D - We created a new subsection titled "Referral to a social service agency" that includes information previously located in B.2 on what to do when we cannot find a suitable payee for an incapable child beneficiary.

Subsection E - We moved the information previously in subsection C to a new subsection E titled "Procedure for documenting a capability determination."

GN 00502.070 Determining Capability - Children

A. Policy for determining capability in children

We generally presume children under age 18 to be incapable, unless the child is emancipated under State law. In certain situations, we make direct payments to children under age 18 who show the ability to manage the benefits per GN 00502.070A.2.

Children under age 15 must have a payee, unless they have been emancipated under State law, see GN 00502.001C. When we presume an unemancipated child under age 15 incapable, obtain only for proof of age, per GN 00302.020. No further capability development is required.

If the child is emancipated under State Law, assume the child is capable unless some other indicator suggests otherwise. Make a capability determination as you would for an adult beneficiary.

We only develop a child's capability when the child asks for direct payment and files his or her own application.

1. For a child who is at least 15 years old and unemancipated, presume that the child is incapable:

  • when legally under parental control or in care of a person standing in place of a parent, see GN 00501.010B.5;

  • if the child has a court-appointed legal guardian; or

  • if entitled to disability benefits and a substance abuse condition exists which indicates the child may need assistance. To determine if a beneficiary has substance abuse (DAA) condition, see GN 00506.200B and look for DAA coding .

2. For a child who is at least 15 years old, presume that the child is capable and pay the child directly if the child:

  • is emancipated under state law;

  • is entitled to disability benefits based on his or her own earnings;

  • is on active duty in the armed forces;

  • is living alone and is self-supporting;

  • is a parent and filed for his or her own or his or her child's benefits and has had experience handling finances;

  • is within 7 months of attaining age 18 and is initially filing an application for benefits; or

  • has demonstrated the ability to handle his or her finances and no qualified payee is available.

Under these circumstances, develop only for the relevant evidence to establish the applicable scenario in GN 00502.070A.2. For proof of emancipation, see GN 00502.070C.3; and for evidence of age, see GN 00302.020.

If there are indicators or evidence to the contrary and you suspect a child may not be capable, you must make a capability determination as you would for an adult beneficiary, see GN 00502.020 through GN 00502.040.

B. Procedure for developing a child's capability

Generally, you should only develop a minor child's capability when the child asks for direct payment, and files his or her own application. If the child is presumed incapable because of age, you usually do not need to do a capability determination.

1. The child is legally under parental control or in the care of a person standing in place of a parent

If a child is legally under parental control or in the care of a person standing in place of parent (e.g., grandparent or stepparent), obtain proof of the child's age to establish that the child is incapable due to age and requires a payee, see GN. 00302.020. No further development is required. Scan the evidence in eView or NDRED and make documentation per GN 00502.065.

2. The child has a legal guardian or a foster care agency is involved

If the child has a legal guardian or a foster care agency is involved,

  • obtain a copy of the court order for legal guardianship (photocopy is sufficient);

  • ask why the guardianship was established; and

  • determine the legal relationship between the child and the foster care agency and the legal guardian;

  • scan the evidence in eView or NDRED and document per GN 00502.065.

Remember, even when the agency is the legal guardian, you are not required to appoint the legal guardian as the payee. In many cases, the foster care agency will encourage the foster parents to apply as payee.

Gather all pertinent information and make a thoughtful and careful payee selection, determining who would serve in the child's best interest.

For additional considerations when guardian is involved, see GN 00502.139.

For additional considerations when foster care is involved, see GN 00502.159.

3. The child is emancipated under state law

An emancipated child under State law is a child who is no longer subject to parental control under the State's laws. A court order is needed in most States (GN 00501.010B.3). The minimum age and emancipation requirements vary from state to state.

Children who are emancipated under state law are presumed capable unless there are indications to the contrary. If the child is emancipated under state law:

  • obtain a copy of the court order or evidence that the requirements of state law are met; refer to the State Emancipation Law Survey Results in the PDF below; and

  • scan the evidence in eView or NDRED and document your determination per GN 00502.065.

If there is some doubt regarding an emancipated child's capability,

  • conduct a capability investigation; and

  • make a determination as you would for an adult beneficiary (see GN 00502.020 through GN 00502.040).

  • document your determination per GN 00502.065.

4. The child files his or her own claim

If a child who is at least 15 years old files his or her own claim, determine whether the child is not under parental or legal guardian control and can be presumed capable as discussed in GN 00502.070A.2:

  • If yes, pay the child directly.

  • If no, determine why the child's parent is not filing the claim and whether he or she exercises control over the child.

  • If you are uncertain of the parent's interest and the child has shown the ability to handle finances, pay the child directly.

  • If the parent or the legal guardian is exercising control over the child, decide whether the parent or the legal guardian should be the payee. (Generally, a parent with interest in and exercising control over a child would be the preferred payee.) Develop for a representative payee following GN 00502.105.

C. Referral to a social service agency

If the child is incapable and you cannot find a qualified payee,

You must document the social agency's recommendation or findings:

  1. 1. 

    Cases established in the electronic Representative Payee System (eRPS) (a payee application is taken or will be taken, whether the application is denied or approved):

    • See the Beneficiary Details page, using the Add Report of Contact link, complete the RPOC.

    • Write in the “Report” section “CAPA-SOCIAL AGY CONTACT” before adding your details, see MS 07416.002.

  2. 2. 

    Cases not established in eRPS (e.g., the payee does not have an SSN):

    • Title 2 or Concurrent - Complete the Report of Contact (RPOC). Write in the “Report” section “CAPA-SOCIAL AGY CONTACT” before adding your details, see MS 030508.007.

    • Title 16 - Complete the Report of Contact (DROC). Write in the “Report Text” section “CAPA-SOCIAL AGY CONTACT” before adding your details, see MS 04422.010.

    If you are unable to establish a RPOC in MCS and MSSICS, use the paper Form SSA-5002 (Report of Contact) for your documentation and scan into NDRED or eView.

D. Reevaluating a child's capability

If there are allegations that the current payment method is not in the child's best interests, develop a change of payee or the child's capability.

When a child beneficiary entitled to disability benefits attains age 18, see GN 00502.075.

E. Procedure for documenting a capability determination

Make a capability determination based on the evidence. You must document capability determinations, summarizing the facts considered and the basis for your determination in eRPS, per GN 00502.065.


GN 00502 TN 58 - Determining the Need for, Developing and Selecting a Representative Payee - 10/26/2020