If you have information that a payee applicant has a history of criminal behavior
(e.g., self-reported, Background Check Results screen in eRPS), carefully consider
this information when making the payee suitability determination. An applicant with
criminal history is a questionable payee choice, as defined in GN 00502.132.A.2.
Do not appoint someone with a criminal past, unless you determine:
• you determine there is no more suitable payee available and direct pay is prohibited, for more information, see GN 00502.001;
• the applicant does not pose a risk to the beneficiary; and
• the applicant will act in the best interests of the beneficiary.
Use the Rep Payee Applicant “Note Type” on the Make Note screen to document your justification
for appointing the applicant (MS 07415.002).
To make a suitability determination you must consider all evidence available and weigh
all factors that indicate the applicant poses no risk to the beneficiary and will
act in the beneficiary’s best interest including:
when the crime was committed;
the relationship of the applicant and the beneficiary; and
the custody of the beneficiary.
Minor crimes or crimes that occurred many years ago may have limited impact on your
determination. Crimes that occurred recently suggest a much more significant risk
to the beneficiary.
EXAMPLE: John, a 40-year old wage earner, files to be payee for their parent who lives with
them. They advise us that they received a felony conviction for stealing a car when
they were 18. After you conduct a criminal background check on John in eRPS, you do
not see any further criminal history. The conviction for stealing a car 22 years ago
does not appear to indicate that they are likely to misuse their parent’s benefits.
You may select John as payee if they are the best choice.