TN 31 (02-97)

NL 00703.773 Reply to Show Cause Order

Document Identifier for Word Processor: E3773



NO. (1)

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.


If You Have Any Questions




Clerk, (5)


  • The FO will send this notice when it receives a show cause order advising SSA that a guardian may be appointed for a beneficiary.

  • Refer to NL 00703.763 for 3763A text and fill-in.



  1. (1) 

    court case number

  2. (2) 

    name of petitioner, possessive

  3. (3) 

    name of court, including city/county if applicable

  4. (4) 

    name of beneficiary

  5. (5) 

    name of court, including city/county if applicable

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NL 00703.773 - Reply to Show Cause Order - 02/24/2003
Batch run: 04/25/2016