§ 404.2021. What is our order of preference in selecting a representative payee for you?

As a guide in selecting a representative payee, categories of preferred payees have been established. These preferences are flexible. Our primary concern is to select the payee who will best serve the beneficiary's interest. The preferences are:

(a) For beneficiaries 18 years old or older (except those described in paragraph (b) of this section), our preference is—

(1) A legal guardian, spouse (or other relative) who has custody of the beneficiary or who demonstrates strong concern for the personal welfare of the beneficiary;

(2) A friend who has custody of the beneficiary or demonstrates strong concern for the personal welfare of the beneficiary;

(3) A public or nonprofit agency or institution having custody of the beneficiary;

(4) A private institution operated for profit and licensed under State law, which has custody of the beneficiary; and

(5) Persons other than above who are qualified to carry out the responsibilities of a payee and who are able and willing to serve as a payee for a beneficiary; e.g., members of community groups or organizations who volunteer to serve as payee for a beneficiary.

(b) For individuals who are disabled and who have a drug addiction or alcoholism condition our preference is—

(1) A community-based nonprofit social service agency which is licensed by the State, or bonded;

(2) A Federal, State, or local government agency whose mission is to carry out income maintenance, social service, or health care-related activities;

(3) A State or local government agency with fiduciary responsibilities;

(4) A designee of an agency (other than a Federal agency) referred to in paragraphs (b)(1), (2), and (3) of this section, if appropriate; or

(5) A family member.

(c) For beneficiaries under age 18, our preference is—

(1) A natural or adoptive parent who has custody of the beneficiary, or a guardian;

(2) A natural or adoptive parent who does not have custody of the beneficiary, but is contributing toward the beneficiary's support and is demonstrating strong concern for the beneficiary's well being;

(3) A natural or adoptive parent who does not have custody of the beneficiary and is not contributing toward his or her support but is demonstrating strong concern for the beneficiary's well being;

(4) A relative or stepparent who has custody of the beneficiary;

(5) A relative who does not have custody of the beneficiary but is contributing toward the beneficiary's support and is demonstrating concern for the beneficiary's well being;

(6) A relative or close friend who does not have custody of the beneficiary but is demonstrating concern for the beneficiary's well being; and

(7) An authorized social agency or custodial institution.

[47 FR 30472, July 14, 1982; 47 FR 32936, July 30, 1982, as amended at 69 FR 60232, Oct. 7, 2004]