What is a Representative Payee?

A Representative Payee is a person or an organization. The Social Security Administration (SSA) appoints a Payee to receive the Social Security or SSI benefits for anyone who can’t manage or direct the management of his or her benefits. A Payee’s main duties are to use the benefits to pay for the current and future needs of the beneficiary, and properly save any benefits not needed to meet current needs. A Payee must also keep records of expenses. When the SSA requests a report, a Payee must provide an accounting to the SSA of how he or she used or saved the benefits.

What is a Guardian?

A Guardian is a person appointed by the court to make healthcare and other mostly non-monetary decisions for someone who cannot make these types of decisions because of an injury, illness, or disability.

What is a Conservator?

A Conservator is a person appointed by the court to take care of someone's finances when he or she cannot make these types of decisions because of an illness, injury, or disability.

Can the court appoint both a Guardian and a Conservator?

Yes, if the court finds it appropriate.

Can the same person be both the Guardian and the Conservator?

Yes, but the court can also appoint different people to serve as Guardian and Conservator.

Can Guardians ever handle money?

Guardians can handle small amounts of money, such as monthly stipends, Social Security benefits, VA benefits, and the like.

If the Guardian will need to handle more than $24,000 annually, then the judge will usually appoint a Conservator as well.