TN 81 (04-23)

GN 00502.085 Advance Designation of Representative Payee


Section 205(j)(1) of the Social Security Act

20 CFR, Sections § 404.2018, Sections§ 404.2020 and § 404.2021

20 CFR, Sections § 416.618, Sections§ 416.620 and § 416.621

A. Introduction

Section 201 of Public Law 115-165, the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (Strengthening Protections Act), amends Section 205(j)(1) of the Social Security Act to allow for advance designation of representative payees.

B. What is Advance Designation of Representative Payee?

Advance designation gives beneficiaries and claimants under Title II, Title VIII, or Title XVI the option to provide SSA with the names of individuals whom they would like to serve as their representative payee (payee) should they need one in the future. Field office (FO), Teleservice Center (TSC), and Workload Support Unit (WSU) employees must understand and communicate clearly the following information about advance designation:

  • Advance designation is the act of naming individuals in advance as potential representative payees for SSA consideration should the need arise. It is not an appointment of a payee;

  • Advance designation is voluntary;

  • Advance designation does not expire with time but can be changed by the beneficiary at any time;

  • The choice to advance designate is not an indication of the beneficiary's or claimant's capability to manage or direct the management of SSA benefits;

  • Advance designation is not an indication of an individual's suitability to serve as payee;

  • Advance designation is not connected to a claim for Title II, Title VIII, or Title XVI benefits and its duration. If SSA denies the claim or the beneficiary stops receiving benefits, the advance designation information remains in the database and can be accessible again once the claimant or beneficiary reapplies for benefits, becomes a beneficiary, or files an appeal;

  • Advance designation is not a power of attorney. In addition, a person named in a power of attorney cannot advance designate on behalf of an incapable or capable beneficiary or claimant.

NOTE: While SSA allows individuals to designate in advance one or more potential payees, only one payee can serve the beneficiary at a time.

C. Who is eligible to advance designate?

Adults and emancipated minors who are:

  • Capable beneficiaries entitled to a benefit under Title II, Title VIII, or Title XVI may advance designate at any time; and

  • Claimants under Title II, Title VIII, or Title XVI may advance designate during the initial claim or while their claim is pending at the initial, reconsideration, hearing, or Appeals Council levels. If a third-party proper applicant files the claim, SSA will contact the first-party applicant to offer the option to advance designate by telephone or by mailing form SSA-4547 – Advance Designation of Representative Payee.


An emancipated minor must provide proof of emancipation. Because emancipation law and proof of emancipation differ by state, we must review and consider a minor’s allegations of emancipation based on the applicable state law. Refer to State Emancipation Law Survey for individual states law and proof of emancipation.

We consider individuals applying for a lump sum death payment (LSDP) as claimants eligible to advance designate. However, an individual receiving only a LSDP is not a beneficiary for the purposes of advance designation, and therefore, cannot advance designate after we have made a determination on the LSDP claim.

Incapable beneficiaries, including those deemed legally incompetent, who have payees or have a representative payee application in “ready to process” status in the electronic Representative Payee System (eRPS) may not advance designate. Individuals who are not a claimant or a beneficiary may not advance designate.

Beneficiaries and claimants who waive the option to advance designate have the ability to later make their advance designation at any time, if they choose, and if they are still eligible to advance designate at that time.

When an incapable beneficiary becomes capable and no longer needs a payee, we must offer the beneficiary the option to advance designate at the time of change to direct payment.

D. Who can be an advance designee?

A beneficiary or claimant may advance designate any individual they believe have genuine concern for their well-being.

Important: A beneficiary or claimant may not advance designate an organization to be an advance designee.

E. Collection of information for advance designation

SSA collects the minimum information we need to help us identify an advance designee in the future, and we do not collect an advance designee’s Social Security number.

Individuals who provide more than one advance designee must provide the advance designees in the order of priority they want us to consider them.

We collect the following information for each advance designee:

  • Name of the advance designee;

  • Telephone number of the advance designee; and

  • Relationship to the advance designee (optional).

The Advance Designation of Representative Payee (ADRP) system records the date when the user enters or updates the advance designee information.

F. Methods and systems for collecting and updating information on advance designations

1. Methods for providing and updating information on advance designations.

Beneficiaries and claimants may provide their advance designation:

  • online using mySSA and iClaim;

  • the field office;

  • by telephone; or

  • by mail using Form SSA-4547 – Advance Designation of Representative Payee.

2. ADRP Intranet applications

Technicians can access the ADRP intranet application via:

  • MCS Claims Systems path;

  • SSI Claims System path; and,

  • ADRP link on iMain

3. ADRP Internet applications

The public can access the ADRP internet application via mySSA. The public may also provide advance designation information in an application filed via iClaim.

4. SSA-4547 – Advance Designation of Representative Payee

Form SSA-4547 - Advance Designation of Representative Payee is available in fillable and printable PDF version via inForm that we can give as a handout or by mail.

G. Obtaining ADRP in paper claims and third-party iClaims

There are situations when we receive paper claims from first and third parties, as well as third-party-initiated iClaims and no advance designation response is provided. If the claimant does not provide an advance designation or waive the option to advance designate, the system will not allow the technician to proceed with processing the claim. To avoid any delay in processing a claim that is ready except for resolving advance designation, follow these instructions:

  • Make one attempt to contact claimant by phone to obtain their advance designation(s);

  • If there is no response or you are unable to make contact, enter the response of “No” to the advance designation question as if the claimant waived their option to advance designate. The entry of “No” will trigger a receipt to the claimant acknowledging the waiver and provide information on how to update the claimant’s advance designation information;

  • Document your call by:

    • Completing the "Report of Contact" (RPOC) in MCS for Title II and "Report of Contact" (DROC) in MSSICS for Title XVI cases. Concurrent cases must have documentation within the RPOC and DROC; and

    • Annotating "Call attempt for ADRP unsuccessful" in the RPOC/DROC remarks section.

H. Updating and withdrawing advance designations

Individuals who are eligible to advance designate, as described in GN 00502.085C, can make the following updates to their advance designation information at any time:

  • Add an advance designee;

  • Delete an advance designee;

  • Edit advance designee information (name, telephone, relationship);

  • Change the order of priority of the advance designees;

  • Withdraw entirely all advance designees; and

  • Elect to advance designate if they previously waived advance designation or withdrew their advance designee(s).

If a beneficiary becomes incapable and has a payee or has a payee application in “ready to process” status in eRPS, the beneficiary will no longer be able to view or update their advance designation information via the ADRP Internet application. However, FO technicians will retain access to the ADRP Intranet application and will be able to update an advance designee’s phone number to help the FO technicians to contact the advance designees in the future if needed. Technicians will also be able to view the advance designees and document contact attempts, if they need to develop for a new payee in the future.

In the event there is a need for a payee change, SSA maintains the advance designee list even after we determine the beneficiary incapable and appoint a payee.

I. Receipts and annual notices

1. Receipts

A centrally printed receipt is provided to individuals for each of the following advance designation transactions when the beneficiary or claimant:

  • elects to provide advance designation;

  • opts not to provide or waives advance designation; or

  • updates their advance designee's information, for example:

    • adds an advance designee;

    • edits an advance designee's information;

    • deletes an advance designee;

    • changes the order of priority of the advance designees; or

    • withdraws the advance designation of representative payee entirely.

The centrally printed receipt from the ADRP Intranet application will store to the Online Retrieval System (ORS).

If the advance designation occurs via mySSA, the beneficiary or claimant may elect to print the screen to serve as their receipt. For mySSA, the screen print does not save to ORS.

If the advance designation occurs via iClaim, the advance designation information is part of the iClaim receipt. The iClaim receipt saves to ORS whether or not the claimant prints the receipt.

The receipt shows the information for the current advance designation or waiver provided by the beneficiary or claimant.

2. Annual Notice

We provide an automated annual notice to the beneficiaries who have an advance designee(s) and who do not have a payee.

The annual notice contains:

  • Advance designation background information;

  • The names of the advance designee(s) listed in the order of priority provided by the beneficiary;

  • The telephone number of the advance designee(s); and

  • The relationship of the advance designee(s) to the beneficiary, if provided.

The annual notice serves as a reminder to the beneficiaries of whom they have advance designated and of the need to keep their advance designation information current.

J. How do we consider advance designees when we select a payee?

When we determine that a beneficiary needs a payee, we consider the advance designees in the order of priority listed by the beneficiary. The advance designee is the first lead in payee development. We also consider the advance designees before our current payee order of preference.

To be selected as a payee, the advance designee must be able and willing to serve, and must satisfy the investigation requirement and prohibitions per GN 00502.132 and GN 00502.133. We can consider other individuals not advance designated or organizations if none of the advance designees is able, willing, or suitable to be a payee, or if selecting another individual or organization would be in the beneficiary’s best interest. Follow the instructions in subchapters GN 00502.000 through GN 00506.000 to help you identify and appoint a suitable payee.

IMPORTANT: During development, technicians must always be alert to any indications of changes in circumstances, such as divorce or separation, which might affect an advance designee’s suitability. We will not select an advance designee as payee who would not serve the beneficiary’s interest.

NOTE: When a beneficiary has a secondary diagnosis of a drug addiction and/or alcoholism (DAA) condition, see GN 00502.105C for the order of preferred payees for adults with a substance abuse condition. We may select another individual or organization if doing so would be in the beneficiary’s best interest.

1. How we select among advance designees

If the beneficiary has an advance designation, we consider the advance designees, one at a time, in the order listed by the beneficiary. Select the first advance designee from the beneficiary’s list who meets the criteria for payee selection. If the first advance designee (AD1) is able, willing, and suitable, we will select AD1 to serve as payee. There is no need to develop the second advance designee (AD2) or the third advance designee (AD3).

If AD1 is not able, willing, or suitable, develop AD2. Select AD2 if AD2 is able, willing, and suitable; otherwise, develop AD3. If none of the advance designees meets the selection criteria, we will then consider other individuals or organizations following our payee order of preference.

2. Advance designees and other payee applicants

While we give first consideration to the beneficiary’s advance designee(s), if an individual not on the advance designation list or an organization applies to serve as payee when a beneficiary becomes incapable, simultaneously consider and develop all of the advance designees as well as the other payee applicant.

To determine which advance designee or payee applicant would best serve the beneficiary’s interest, follow the instructions in GN 00502.132 for selecting a qualified representative payee.

If the other payee applicant is more suitable than all of the advance designees and appointment of the other payee applicant would be in the beneficiary’s best interest, select the other payee applicant.

The following scenarios illustrate how to consider and develop advance designees and another payee applicant not advance designated by the beneficiary. In the following scenarios, we refer to the advance designees in order of priority as AD1, AD2, and AD3:

Scenario 1

The advance designees and the other applicant are all equally suitable. We will select AD1, following the order of priority established by the beneficiary.

Scenario 2

The other applicant is more suitable than AD1 and AD2, but is equally as suitable as AD3. We will select AD3, following the order of priority established by the beneficiary.

Scenario 3

The other applicant is more suitable than all the advance designees. We will select the other applicant over the advance designees. For example, John advance designated their son as AD1, their eldest daughter as AD2, and their brother as AD3. Five years later, John became incapable and decided to move in with their niece who lives in a different state, where they will be their primary caretaker. John now prefers their niece as payee, since they will be helping them day to day with their finances and medical needs. If the niece applies to be John’s payee and we find that they are more suitable than AD1, AD2, and AD3 (for example, because they have custody of the beneficiary), we will select the niece over the advance designees even if they are all suitable. The appointment of the niece is in John’s best interest.

K. Advance designee is an SSA employee

If a beneficiary or claimant advance designates someone who is an SSA employee, consider potential conflicts of interest and other issues when selecting a representative payee. Refer to GN 03980.070 and GN 00502.085I for guidance.

L. How we consider advance designation when selecting a subsequent payee

If a beneficiary who currently has a payee requires a change of payee, we will consider the remaining advance designees, if any, in the order of priority listed by the beneficiary, following the instructions in GN 00502.085I.

If none of the remaining advance designees meets the criteria for selection, develop for a successor payee by following the instructions in GN 00504.100.

M. Contact process for advance designees

If we determine that a beneficiary with an advance designee needs a payee, we must contact the advance designee. If there is more than one advance designee, we will contact the advance designees in the order of priority established by the beneficiary. Contact the advance designees one at a time. Do not contact the next advance designee until you have determined that the prior advance designee is unwilling, unable, or unsuitable.

A technician can access the “Document Contact” page when accessing the ADRP application via iMain. This page displays the current advance designee(s) on record and allows the technician to document contact attempts for any of the advance designees and for the beneficiary.

We must contact advance designees with due diligence by:

  • Making at least three contact attempts to a valid telephone number, including leaving a message and making follow up calls. Use practical and reasonable judgment to determine the intervals between the three contact attempts. Leave a minimum amount of information necessary for an advance designee to understand the reason for your call and the call back information. Follow the agency’s data minimization policies when contacting advance designees and leaving voicemails. For example, you may explain that you are calling from the Social Security Administration, that you are leaving a message for the advance designee, and that you are requesting the advance designee to return your call. Do not identify the name or any other personally identifiable information about the claimant or beneficiary if you have not yet verified the telephone number as belonging to the advance designee.

  • For disconnected or wrong telephone numbers, only one contact attempt is necessary. However, technicians may call the beneficiary, if possible, to inquire for an updated contact telephone number of the advance designee.

    • If the beneficiary provides a valid new telephone number, update the advance designee’s contact information in the ADRP application and attempt contact with the advance designee using the updated information.

    • If the beneficiary has no other contact information for the advance designee, call the next advance designee in order of priority.

N. Documenting contact and selection

1. ADRP documentation

Document the contact attempts for each advance designee for both the successful and unsuccessful attempts. Note the reason for the unsuccessful attempt and the action taken in the comments section of the “Document Contact” page. The advance designation application automatically records each contact and comments to the Contact History table when a technician documents results of contact with the advance designee or beneficiary. This table displays the history of any prior contacts and comments, including the date, the time, and the SSA employee who made the entry.


You can only access the Document Contact page when you access the ADRP application from the ADRP link on the iMain Intranet Main Menu page and the individual already has one or more advance designees on record. You cannot access the Document Contact page when you access the ADRP application from MCS or the SSI Claims system.

2. eRPS documentation

Document the payee selection or non-selection determination per GN 00502.185. Indicate the reason for non-selection if the beneficiary has advance designees and the selected payee is not an advance designee. The reasons for non-selection of advance designees may include:

  • unable to contact;

  • unable to serve;

  • unwilling to serve;

  • advance designee is not suitable; and

  • advance designee does not otherwise support the beneficiary's best interest.

Include a brief explanation in the Make Note – Beneficiary Details (see MS 07415.002) of why the selected payee is the most suitable.

O. References

  • GN 00502.000 Determining the Need for, Developing and Selecting a Representative Payee

  • GN 00502.105 Preferred Representative Payee Order of Selection Charts

  • GN 00502.130 Factors to Consider in Evaluating Payee Applicants

  • GN 00502.132 Selecting a Qualified Representative Payee

  • GN 00502.133 Payee Applicant is a Felon or Fugitive or Has Been Convicted of Other Criminal Act

  • GN 00502.185 Documenting Payee Selections/Non-Selections and Post-Entitlement Actions in eRPS

  • GN 00503.000 Payee Notices and Appeal Rights

  • GN 00504.000 Suspension for Payee Development and Other Payee Actions

  • GN 00505.000 Foreign Claims – Representative Payee Procedures Outside the U.S.

  • GN 00506.000 Payment for Representative Payee Services

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
GN 00502.085 - Advance Designation of Representative Payee - 04/04/2023
Batch run: 04/04/2023