US Government Information/payee
QUESTION: Hi, my question is, if you are a payee for your adult child is it ok to have the checks deposited in a joint account that has both your name and your adults child's name on it?
ANSWER: Her benefits should not be comingled with your money. If you were to die, she may not have access to jet benefits. Her benefits she be kept separate and the account should be titled to show that she owns the account and you are her are a payee.
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QUESTION: Thank you so much for your help, I don't comingle our money, the money in the account is only hers. I use it for her only. Is that ok. She has access to it.
Below is the Social Security policy. Perhaps you meet an exception to the general.
GN 02402.055 Direct Deposit for Representative Payee Cases
A. Policy for direct deposit for representative payee cases
1. General rule
Title II or title XVI payments paid to a representative payee are for the beneficiary and the beneficiary owns them. If a representative payee requests direct deposit, the title of the account or sub account must show that the representative payee has only a fiduciary interest in the account or sub account and the beneficiary is the owner of the funds.
The beneficiary must not have direct access to the account or sub account. A separate account or sub account is mandatory for each beneficiary; see GN 02402.050; because each sub account is a separate account, payments for beneficiaries with representative payees may be direct deposit to the same master account as those of other beneficiaries. For exceptions, see GN 02402.055A.3., GN 02402.055B.3. and GN 02402.060. For an explanation of master- sub accounts, see GN 02402.050.
2. Acceptable account titles
Any form of account title the financial institution (FI) recognizes as establishing beneficiary ownership of the funds, but without beneficiary direct access to them, is acceptable. The title of the account or sub account must show that the representative payee has only a fiduciary (not personal) interest in the funds.
a. Example of acceptable titles
Mary Smith is the representative payee for her cousin, Jane Jones. The account title may be
Mary Smith for Jane Jones;
Jane Jones by Mary Smith;
Jane Jones by Mary Smith, trustee; or
Jane Jones by Mary Smith, guardian.
b. Example of unacceptable titles
“Mary Smith in trust for Jane Jones” is not an acceptable title for representative payee cases because some FIs would consider Mary Smith as the owner of the funds. “Jane Jones” is not an acceptable title for representative payee cases because it gives the beneficiary direct access to the funds. “For additional account titling requirements for rep payees, refer to POMs GN 00603.010 through GN 00603.020”
3. Exception for showing a beneficiary’s ownership of funds
There are exceptions to the general rule that the title of the account or sub account must show the beneficiary's ownership of the funds. This exception applies if the title meets all of the following conditions:
Spouses and parents
The payee is the spouse, natural parent or adoptive parent, or stepparent of the beneficiary, and
The payee and the beneficiary live in the same household, and
The payee requests direct deposit to the payee's personal checking account, and
The field office (FO) confirms with the payee that benefits received are for the beneficiary's current expenses and there will be no accumulation of funds in the account.
This exception applies for any category of title II or title XVI payments. The beneficiary does not need to be receiving benefits as a disabled/blind child or disabled adult child. The age of the “child” is not material. In addition, the exception applies for the child's benefits whether the representative payee parent is the sole owner of the account or is married and has a joint account with his or her spouse. For more exceptions, see GN 00603.020 and GN 00603.010.
EXAMPLE 1: Sam Smith, age 62, lives with his mother and receives retirement benefits. He becomes unable to handle his own benefits, and his mother becomes his representative payee. She requests direct deposit to her checking account and states all benefits spent are for her son's current expenses. The FO approves her request.
EXAMPLE 2: Betty Roe, age 25, qualifies for SSI benefits as a disabled individual. Her father, with whom she lives, becomes her representative payee and requests direct deposit to his own checking account. He states that all funds spent are for Betty's current expenses. The FO approves the request.
EXAMPLE 3: Mary Jones files for survivor's benefits for her three children (ages three, five, and seven), when their father dies. She requests direct deposit of their benefits to her checking account, stating the children live with her and all benefits spent are for the children and no money will accumulate in the account. The FO approves the request.
EXAMPLE 4: (NOT ACCEPTABLE) Joe Johnson, age 8, becomes eligible for SSI payments as a blind child. His brother James, with whom he lives, requests direct deposit of Joe's payments to James's checking account. He states all of Joe's money is for Joe's needs and will not accumulate in the account. Because James is not Joe's parent, the FO denies the request and provides examples of account titles for a beneficiary with a representative payee. For another exception that applies to trust agreement cases, see GN 02402.060.