SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home1610. What is the usual order of preference in selecting a payee for a beneficiary age 18 or over?

1610.1 What is the usual order of preference in selecting a payee for a beneficiary age 18 or over?

The usual order of preference in selecting a payee for a beneficiary age 18 or over is:

  1. A spouse, parent or other relative with custody or who shows strong concern;

  2. A legal guardian/conservator with custody or who shows strong concern;

  3. A friend with custody;

  4. A public or nonprofit agency or institution;

  5. A Federal or State institution;

  6. A statutory guardian (see GN 00502.139);

  7. A voluntary conservator (see GN 00502.139);

  8. A private, for-profit institution with custody and is licensed under State law;

  9. A friend without custody, but who shows strong concern for the beneficiary’s well-being, including persons with power of attorney;

  10. Anyone not listed above who is qualified and able to act as payee, and who is willing to do so;

  11. An organization that charges a fee for its service.

1610.2 What is the usual order of preference in selecting a payee for a beneficiary age 18 or over who has a substance abuse condition?

The usual order of preference in selecting a payee for a disabled beneficiary who has a substance abuse condition is:

  1. A community-based nonprofit social service agency bonded and licensed (if required) by the State;

  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 of a Federal agency) referred to above, if appropriate; or

  5. A family member who demonstrates strong concern and is able and willing to exercise adequate supervision of the beneficiary’s behavior.

1610.3 Who is selected if the preferred payees are not available for a beneficiary age 18 or over who has a substance abuse condition?

When none of the preferred payees are available, select the best payee from this list of alternate sources:

  1. A legal guardian with custody or who shows strong concern for the beneficiary’s well-being;

  2. A relative or friend with custody who shows strong concern for the beneficiary’s well-being;

  3. A public or nonprofit agency or institution with custody;

  4. A private, for-profit institution with custody and is licensed under State law; or

  5. Anyone not listed above who is qualified and able to act as payee, and who is willing to do so.

Last Revised: Aug. 1, 2011