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Do I need a lawyer for payee help

Hastings On Hudson, NY |

I get a disabilities check every month and for the past few months I haven't gotten any of it. My uncle says its for rent even though half of my check goes toward it every month. The other $529 is going to cigarettes and his bills. Is there anything I can do to get all of my money? Can my boyfriend who I now live with be my payee? He is 28 and I've known him for a few months and trust him.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Please go to your local Social Security District Office and ask them to remove your uncle as Rep Payee. He cannot use your money cigarettes. They can also help you find a responsible Rep Payee. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to find your local district office. Good luck!

    Any answers to Avvo questions are for general public legal information and do not establish an attorney/client relationship with Troy Rosasco or his law firm. Individuals should always consult their own attorney on the specifics of their individual legal issues.


  2. You should not need a lawyer, but I strongly encourage you to select a different representative payee candidate than your boyfriend of a few months.

    If you are unable to manage your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits (or if the Social Security Administration (SSA) thinks you can't) you will need someone to serve as your representative payee (often called a rep payee or payee). Your payee will be responsible for taking care of your benefits, and should be someone who cares about you and whom you trust to handle your money. You can get a payee in either of two ways: SSA can choose one for you or can you choose one. You can choose almost any adult, with the following exceptions:
    • You must not choose a person who provides a service to you for money (such as your doctor or your landlord) unless that person is a relative or is your legal guardian;
    • You must not choose a person who has previously misused anyone's Social Security benefits, and
    • You must not choose a person who has ever been found guilty of a crime against SSA.

    The person you choose must provide proof of identity and a Social Security card to SSA. The person should also go with you to any interviews you have with SSA, if possible.
    If you are unable to find a payee, SSA will give you a list of agencies that can serve as your payee. While you are reviewing the agencies on this list, SSA will keep paying your benefits directly to you while it determines whether or not you need a payee, unless SSA or a Court has found you incompetent or you have a drug or alcohol problem.

    CAN I CHANGE MY REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE?
    Yes, you can change your payee if you wish. If you decide to change your payee, you should notify SSA as soon as you make the decision. You will need to fill out an application form at your local Social Security office.
    The person you choose to replace your present payee must provide SSA with a letter indicating that he/she is willing to serve as your payee and must provide SSA with proof of his/her identity.
    Once you’ve sent the application form and the new payee has sent the letter to SSA, the change in payee should take effect in about a month. You and your new payee should each receive a written notice of this before any benefits are paid to the new payee.

    WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH SSA’S DECISION?
    You have a right to appeal several of the SSA’s decisions:
    • You may appeal SSA's determination that you need a payee;
    • You may appeal SSA’s decision to select a given payee for you;
    • You may appeal SSA’s denial of the person that you have chosen to be your payee, or
    • You may appeal SSA’s denial of your request to change your payee.
    • You can also appeal SSA's failure to pay your benefits directly to you while it is investigating its decision that you need a payee or while you are following through on SSA's suggestions for a possible payee.

    You must file your appeal on the proper form no later than 60 days after the date noted on the SSA notice that you disagree with, UNLESS THE NOTICE STATES SOME OTHER TIME, such as 10 days or 30 days. You can get an appeal form at your local Social Security office.

    Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.


  3. Your uncle is not supposed to just turn over the check to you. Is he paying other bills for you, such as food and electricity and medicine? If so, there may not be anything much left of your check. A representative payee is supposed to pay for basic needs first, food, shelter, medication, medical care, etc. Then other needs can be paid for, transportation, clothes, etc. A small allowance is OK --for example, SSA suggests $30 per month for those in a nursing home.

    If your uncle is truly misusing your money, then another payee can be chosen by SSA. SSA prefers a relative who would have your best interests at heart. A boyfriend of a few months is not a preferable choice as payee.

    You don't need a lawyer to handle this.

    This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship. This communication offers general information based on the limited facts set out in the question, and does not constitute the giving of legal advice. For specific legal advice, consult an attorney in your state who is knowledgeable in this area of law.