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How can I help someone on SSI manage their money?

Supplemental Security Income is support from the government for individuals who have restricted income and limited resources. It's available for individuals 65 and older who are in need. It is also a source of much needed support for anyone who may be blind or disabled, including children.

Obviously, the nature and severity of disabilities can vary. Very often that means that persons who may be qualified for SSI may be unable meet the basic needs of daily living, much less face the bureaucratic processes of applying for benefits and appealing denials if that's required. In such circumstances an experienced attorney can be helpful.

Once benefits have been obtained, the need doesn't end. It's not unusual for individuals receiving SSI to be unable to manage their resources in the most effective way. In acknowledgment of that fact, the Social Security Administration has the Representative Payment Program.

As the Social Security Administration website explains, a person or an organization is appointed by the agency as an SSI beneficiary's representative payee. Typically, the government looks for a family member or friend who may be willing and able. If that's not possible, an organization that is qualified is named.

If you take on the responsibility of being a representative payee, the agency makes clear that your obligation is to ensure that the SSI benefits received are used to meet the basic needs of the recipient. Food, clothing, shelter are the priorities. Any residual funds must go into some form of savings account for future needs. Proper records of all expenses must be maintained and reported to SSA upon request. 

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