TN 196 (07-21)

GN 02402.055 Direct Deposit for Representative Payee Cases

A. Overview of representative payees using direct deposit for beneficiaries and recipients

Regardless of payment delivery type (i.e. direct deposit, paper check), when SSA issues Title II and Title XVI payments to a representative payee, the payments are for the beneficiary or recipient. If a representative payee requests direct deposit, the title of the depository account must show the representative payee as having fiduciary interest, while reflecting the beneficiary or recipient as the account’s or sub-account’s owner.

B. Criteria for acceptable direct deposit arrangements involving representative payees

Depository accounts involving representative payees receiving direct deposit payments must adhere to the criteria as described in this section:

  • Representative payee must be approved by SSA

  • Financial institution (FI) receiving direct deposits must meet the agency's criteria in GN 02402.030

  • Depository account title must reflect representative payee fiduciary interest

  • Depository account must list payees name in the title of the account or in a separate account or in a sub-account

C. Acceptable account titles for representative payees

Accept any form of account title the FI recognizes as establishing beneficiary ownership of the funds, but without beneficiary direct access to them. Please see subsection GN 02402.055F on how to attain this titling information. The title of the account or sub account must show that the representative payee has only a fiduciary (not personal) interest in the funds. If this is a collective account, please see GN 00603.020D.1.

1. EXAMPLE: Acceptable title for representative payees individual accounts. The following examples apply to Mary Smith as the representative payee serving on behalf for her cousin, Jane Jones. The account title may be:

(See also GN 00603.010B.1.)

  • Mary Smith for Jane Jones;

  • Jane Jones by Mary Smith

  • Jane Jones by Mary Smith, trustee; or

  • Jane Jones by Mary Smith, guardian

2. EXAMPLE: Acceptable titles for collective and master-sub accounts involving representative payees (see also GN 00603.020D):

  • Jane Jones for Social Security Beneficiaries

  • Helping Hand Fund for Social Security Beneficiaries

  • Helping Hands Resident Trust Account

  • "Comfort Nursing Home Resident Trust Patients Account" and its respective sub-account is entitled “Comfort Nursing Home for (name of nursing home resident”

Master-sub accounts involving representative payees will follow collective account titling policies as described in GN 00603.020D. For the definition of a master-sub account, please see GN 02402.050B.2. For more information on collective account titling, please see subsection GN 00603.020D.

The account title must reflect the designated payee's name, not the corporate organization (unless if that corporate organization is the name payee).

D. Exceptions showing a beneficiary's ownership of funds for individual payees

Apply an exception to the general rule that the title of the account or sub account must show the beneficiary's ownership of the funds when the title meets all conditions listed:

  • Representative payee is the spouse, natural parent or adoptive parent, or stepparent of the beneficiary or recipient, and

  • Representative payee and the beneficiary live in the same household, and

  • Representative payee requests direct deposit to the payee's personal checking account, and

  • Confirmation from the field office with the payee that benefits received are for the beneficiary's current expenses with no accumulation of funds in the account.


The exception applies for any title II or title XVI payments category. The beneficiary or recipient does not require to be receiving benefits as a disabled/blind child or disabled adult child. The age of the “child” is NOT material. In addition, the exception applies for the child’s benefits whether the representative payee’s parent is the sole owner of the account or is married and has a joint account with his or her spouse.

For more information, see also:

  • GN 00603.020 Collective Checking and Savings Accounts Managed by Representative Payees

  • GN 00603.010 Conserving Benefits in a Savings or Checking Account

EXAMPLE 1: (ACCEPTABLE) Sam Smith, age 62, lives with his mother and receives retirement benefits. He becomes unable to handle his own benefits, and his mother becomes his representative payee. She requests direct deposit to her checking account and states all benefits spent are for her son's current expenses. The FO approves her request.

EXAMPLE 2: (ACCEPTABLE) Betty Roe, age 25, qualifies for SSI benefits as a disabled individual. Her father, with whom she lives, becomes her representative payee and requests direct deposit to his own checking account. He states that all funds spent are for Betty's current expenses. The FO approves the request.

EXAMPLE 3: (ACCEPTABLE) Mary Jones files for survivor's benefits for her three children (ages three, five, and seven), when their father dies. She requests direct deposit of their benefits to her checking account, stating the children live with her and all benefits spent are for the children and no money will accumulate in the account. The FO approves the request.

EXAMPLE 4: (NOT ACCEPTABLE) Joe Johnson, age 8, becomes eligible for SSI payments as a blind child. His brother James, with whom he lives, requests direct deposit of Joe's payments to James's checking account. He states all of Joe's money is for Joe's needs and will not accumulate in the account. Because James is not Joe's parent or spouse, the FO denies the request and provides examples of account titles for a beneficiary with a representative payee. For another exception that applies to trust agreement cases, see GN 02402.060.

E. Exception to the general account-titling rule for State or local government organizational payees

(See also GN 00603.020D.2.)

We 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.

Refer to requirements for allowing an account titling exception for State or local agencies serving as payees in “Collective Checking and Savings Accounts Managed by Representative Payees”

Another possible exception may apply to trust agreement cases, see GN 02402.060.

F. Processing request for direct deposits for representative payee cases

1. Savings and checking accounts

You may approve a request for direct deposit to a checking or savings account by a representative payee if

  • The criteria for acceptable direct deposit arrangements involving representative payees is met (See subsection GN 02402.055B)

  • The title of the account and its sub account reflect the beneficiary ownership of the funds, but does not give the beneficiary direct access to the funds.

EXAMPLE 1: Acceptable master-sub account arrangement

Comfort Nursing Home maintains a master-sub account titled “Comfort Nursing Home Resident Trust Patients Account” and its respective sub-account is entitled “Comfort Nursing Home for (name of nursing home resident)” at New State Bank for the convenience of its residents. The nursing home sets up separate sub-accounts or ledgers under the name of each resident. Residents sign agreements for the nursing home to withdraw monthly amounts for care costs. Residents can withdraw any amount, up to the balance in their accounts (account with their name) for personal expenses. The nursing home keeps track of all deposits and withdrawals. This sub account title is acceptable (See GN 02402.050 for more information about master-sub accounts).

EXAMPLE 2: Acceptable Individual Checking Account Arrangement

Mary Smith is the aunt of Frank Jones' two minor children, John Jones and Katie Jones. As their representative payee, Mary requests direct deposit of the children’s payments to individual checking accounts and provides the correct bank account title as Mary Smith for John Jones, and Mary Smith for Katie Jones. The teleservice representative approves her request and makes necessary inputs.

EXAMPLE 3: Unacceptable Account Arrangement

A widow, Susan Brown, and three children are entitled on the record of Harry Brown. As the designated payee,The widow requests the children's payments are distributed to a savings account titled “Susan Brown for minor children of Harry Brown.” The FO cannot approve the request because all conserved funds must be in a form that shows the individual beneficiary's ownership of the funds.

2. Collective accounts and master sub accounts with representative payees

Accept a request by an individual or institution acting as representative payee for several beneficiaries to have direct deposit into a common checking or savings account. We will approve the request if it complies with all conditions listed in GN 00603.020. Both accounts require the representative payee to maintain sub-account documentation that shows the receipts, expenses paid, and balance for each individual. To establish this type of account and document this type of account, obtain an SF-1199A, Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form. A single, signed SF-1199A with an attached listing of beneficiaries/recipients and claim numbers is sufficient. of an acceptable collective account arrangement. Please see GN 02402.070 for more information on SF-1199A.

EXAMPLE of an Acceptable Collective Account Arrangement

Bruce Doe is a lawyer serving as an individual payee for 15 Social Security beneficiaries. His law firm is not the payee. Mr. Doe opens a collective checking account titled “Bruce Doe for Social Security/SSI Beneficiaries.” He provides you with a bank statement or other bank documentation showing this title and the account number.

G. Providing information to FIs for direct deposit representative payee cases

To aid FIs and representative payees in allocating payments to the correct beneficiary, we send FIs additional information with title II and title XVI payments to beneficiaries with representative payees. The name line is usually limited to 22 characters, for the names of the representative payee and the beneficiary. If there is a second line of name on our record, the FI receives both lines. Within the two lines, there is usually enough space for the names of both the representative payee and the beneficiary, such as “JANE JONES BY JOHN JONES” or “MAPLE CO DEV GROUP FOR MARY SMITH.”

We encourage FIs to use this information in one of two ways, depending on the type of representative payee:

  1. 1. 

    If the representative payee is an individual, the FI should display the addenda information on the monthly account statement.

  2. 2. 

    If the representative payee is an institutional representative payee, the FI should pass the additional identifying information quickly to the institution by fax, electronic media, or another method.

H. References

  • MSOM MCS 005.012 Additional Benefits (ADDB),

  • MSOM MCS 009.008 Check/Notice 1 (NOT1)

  • MS 04427.006 Mailing/Payment Address Comparison (CPAD)

  • MSOM T2PE 003.002 POS Address/Direct Deposit/Phone (PEAD)

  • SI 01140.200 Checking and savings accounts

  • SI 01140.205 Joint checking and savings accounts,

  • SM 01315.000 Check Processing - Table of Contents

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GN 02402.055 - Direct Deposit for Representative Payee Cases - 07/23/2021
Batch run: 01/29/2024