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Relatives May Be Able to Collect SSDI Benefits on Behalf of a Family Member

You always knew that your mom would be getting older one day, and now it’s time to face the facts. She left her job at Whippany Park High School after an injury and has been living off of disability—but what happens when she is too far gone to care for herself? Even if you are able to pay her bills on her behalf, you may not be able to take her in. How can you get the money you need to keep her comfortable?

Representatives Can Collect Social Security Benefits on a Disabled Relative’s Behalf

If someone in your family is disabled, but is not competent to handle his or her own finances, the Social Security Administration will allow one designated person to receive the beneficiary’s disability payments. If you become the “representative payee” on your mother’s behalf, you will be held legally responsible for her Social Security benefits, including the following duties:

  • Ensuring that the beneficiary receives prompt and adequate medical treatment
  • Making executive decisions about the beneficiary’s needs (what they are, how they can be improved)
  • Investing the beneficiary’s leftover disability funds in an interest-bearing savings or investment account
  • Keeping detailed records of the payments received, how much was spent, and the items purchased
  • Returning any unearned benefit payments to SSA
  • Reporting any changes in the beneficiary’s disability status to SSA
  • Purchasing items that will improve the beneficiary’s quality of life using SSDI funds
  • Communicating with government agencies or medical facilities that require the beneficiary’s SSDI information

Accepting the role of representative payee is a serious decision, and will have to be made in person at the nearest Social Security branch office. You should also realize that becoming a payee will only give you permission to receive your mother’s Social Security funds—any other accounts cannot be accessed using payee status. To find out more about taking care of an ailing relative on disability, click the links below or click the contact link on this page to get your questions answered.


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