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Becoming a "representative payee" for California SSD benefits

Los Angeles residents who are living with a disability will probably have a limited ability to function in quite a few ways. Some Californians are so disabled that they are unable to do even the most routine of daily tasks, and those people need near-constant assistance. If people in this situation have the appropriate level of work credits, they may be able to qualify to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

But, what if the person's limitations include the inability to manage their finances? SSD benefits, after all, are simply a monthly check for a certain amount. There are not any instructions on how to spend the money. In this type of situation, someone may need to step up to become a "representative payee."

What does it mean to become a "representative payee"? Well, for starters, the SSD benefits are still in the name of the person who actually qualifies for the benefits. The monthly payment of these benefits, however, is instead routed to a person who will be able to responsibly manage those funds for the benefit of the recipient.

In most cases, a family member or even a close friend will step up to help and become the representative payee for a disabled individual. This is the first choice for the Social Security Administration when it becomes clear that a representative payee needs to be appointed. However, in the absence of a friend or family member, an organization may be able to qualify as a representative payee.

Source: SocialSecurity.gov, "When People Need Help Managing Their Money," accessed on Oct. 4, 2015

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