Using Funds and Keeping Records
The most important duty of a representative payee is to know the needs of each beneficiary/recipient for whom they are payee and to use the payments they receive in the best interest of that beneficiary/recipient. As a payee, all payments received from the Social Security Administration (SSA) must be used for the individual's current maintenance needs or saved for future needs. Current needs include:
- Medical care
- Personal comfort items.
NOTE: A payee should not sacrifice current maintenance needs to pay other expenses, or conserve, invest, or accumulate money for a future purpose.
Representative payees are required to maintain detailed and accurate records of all funds received and spent in order to provide a true accounting to SSA. A detailed record of expenditures may include:
- Bank statements (including electronic versions)
- Leases (rental agreements)
- Cancelled checks (including electronic versions)
- Statements signed by the claimant confirming receipt of funds for personal use
NOTE: A payee must save records for at least two years and make them available to SSA upon request.
An organizational payee must establish some form of accounting system that will track the following information for each beneficiary/recipient:
- How much money was received
- How much money was spent
- The balance saved, if any
In addition to the above documentation, individual payees may use a worksheet or ledger to document all deposits and expenses for the beneficiary/recipient.