TN 43 (04-16)

GN 00502.132 Selecting a Qualified Representative Payee (RP)

A. Policy for selection of a representative payee

Deciding whether an applicant will make a good representative payee is an extremely important decision. Make the determination to select a payee after you determine a beneficiary is incapable. For information on determining capability, see GN 00502.010. Your determination may greatly affect a beneficiary’s quality of life. You must weigh all available information including:

  • answers to questions collected in the payee application;

  • the applicant’s relationship to the beneficiary;

  • whether the applicant has custody of the beneficiary;

  • all known information about the applicant’s past payee performance (if any); and

  • criminal history.

1. Persons barred from serving as representative payee

We prohibit some individuals from serving as payees and we may never appoint them as payee under any circumstances. For information on applicants we bar from ever serving as payee, see GN 00502.133.

If the applicant is barred from ever serving as payee, document this information on the Make Note screen (MS INTRANETERPS 015.002) in the Electronic Representative Payee System (eRPS) using the procedures in GN 00502.132B.2 in this section.

2. Individuals considered questionable payee choices

Some individuals are questionable payee choices and you must not appoint them (or allow them to continue) as payee unless:

  • there is not a more suitable alternative;

  • direct payment is prohibited; and

  • you have determined the applicant poses no risk to the beneficiary.

Document your suitability determination, on the Make Note screen in eRPS using the procedures in GN 00502.132B.2 in this section.

Questionable payee choices include:

  • convicted felons (for crimes other than those listed in GN 00502.133);

  • applicants with a prior history of misuse;

  • applicants with a pending misuse allegation;

  • applicants who are non-responders for another beneficiary

  • applicants imprisoned for more than 1 year; and

  • creditors of the beneficiary. For more information on a payee applicant that is a creditor, see GN 00502.135.

Generally, any criminal history casts serious doubts about the payee applicant’s suitability. You must consider all evidence available and weigh all factors that indicate the applicant poses no risk to the beneficiary. You must document your payee selection or non-selection determination on the Make Note screen in eRPS.

3. People with unsatisfied felony warrants (Martinez v. Astrue Class Action Settlement)

We may consider an applicant's suitability to serve as a representative payee if the individual has an unsatisfied felony warrant. If the applicant’s offense code is 4901, 4902, or 4999, do not select that individual to be a payee. There are no exceptions to this prohibition. For information on individuals considered fugitive felons, see GN 00502.133A.2. 

B. Procedure for processing and documenting eRPS alert messages

1. Reasons for gathering information

eRPS is an investigative tool to help you make appropriate payee appointments. The payee application path in the eRPS displays remarks on the Make Note screen (MS INTRANETERPS 015.002) to alert you to historical negative events or other situations that need careful review prior to making the appointment determination. You must carefully review this screen for the presence of such remarks and thoroughly consider the information it provides prior to making the appointment determination. In addition, the representative payee application asks the applicant specific questions about certain types of criminal behavior. Information about how a person has previously performed payee duties is critical; therefore, it is important to record information about the payee’s performance, particularly occurrences of misuse, on the eRPS so it is available for future consideration.

2. Documenting in eRPS alerts

For each negative indicator or alert, you must fully document your payee selection or non-selection on the Make Note screen in eRPS. You must develop and document all criminal information, such as:

  • the nature of the crime;

  • when the crime occurred; and

  • the sentence the applicant received.

You must document the applicant’s relationship to the beneficiary and custody information when making your determination.

NOTE: We generally bar individuals convicted of certain crimes from serving as a representative payee, refer to GN 00502.133.

3. eRPS alerts and Selection-Decision screen edit remarks defined

The alerts below will appear in the Alert Messages feature in the application path and will displayed when you attempt to select the applicant on the Rep Payee Selection Decision Screen (MS INTRANETERPS 012.002).

When you receive one of the alerts below you must:

  • Non-Select the Applicant using the Selection-Decision screen

  • Select the appropriate Non-Select Reason (MS INTRANETERPS 012.003).

  • Check “Send non-select notice to applicant” so eRPS

    sends the appropriate non-select notice automatically.

  • Look for a new payee applicant and consider direct payment, if appropriate.

a. RP convicted under Sec 208/811/1632

The “RP convicted under Sec 208/811/1632” remark means the person was convicted of Social Security fraud under one or more of these statutes. The law prohibits anyone convicted under these provisions from ever serving as a payee. There are no exceptions. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) provides SSA Central Office (CO) staff with a list of individuals convicted under 208/811/1632 of the Social Security Act, and SSA Regional Office (RO) staff then input the list into eRPS. The eRPS alerts you when an applicant has this type of conviction posted in the eRPS and does not permit that applicant to be selected as payee.

NOTE: The Selection-Decision screen error message will say “History of Social Security fraud (Sections 208/811/1632)”. The non-select reason for this alert is “Other barred Crime”.

b. RP has committed RP related fraud

The “RP has committed RP related fraud” remark means the person was convicted of fraud directly related to his or her representative payee duties (misuse, conversion of benefits, etc.). However, he or she was convicted under statutes other than sections 208, 811, or 1632 of the Social Security Act. The OIG provides SSA CO staff with a list of these convictions. CO staff sends the list to the RO staff. The RO staff input the information into the eRPS. This alert appears when you access the eRPS to make a query or take an application. SSA bars an individual with this alert from serving as a representative payee. Do not appoint a representative payee applicant who has committed representative payee related fraud. There are no exceptions to this rule. For more information refer to, GN 00502.132B.2 in this section.

NOTE: The Selection-Decision screen error message will say “History payment fraud”. The non-select reason for this alert is “Other barred Crime”.

c. Representative/Health Care provider convicted under Sec. 1136

The “Representative/Health Care provider convicted under Section 1136” alert means the applicant is barred from serving as payee under section 1136 of the Social Security Act. A representative or a health care provider convicted of any violation under Title XVIII of the United States Code may not participate in Social Security programs and therefore may not serve as a representative payee. The violations relate to the following:

  • Initial application for benefits;

  • Continuing entitlement to benefits;

  • Amount of benefits under Title II or Title XVI; and

  • An individual assessed with a Civil Monetary Penalty under section 1129 (a) (1) of the Act

NOTE: The Selection-Decision screen error message will say “History of Social Security Fraud (Section 1136)”. The non-select reason for this alert is “Other barred Crime”.

d. RP convicted of Barred Crime

The “RP convicted of Barred Crime” alert means the individual was convicted of one of the twelve felony crimes that bar an individual for serving as payee. Barred crimes only apply to individual payees, not organizations. See a list of the 12 barred felony crimes below:

  1. Human Trafficking

  2. False Imprisonment

  3. Kidnapping

  4. Rape and Sexual Assault

  5. First-Degree Homicide

  6. Robbery

  7. Fraud to obtain access to government assistance

  8. Fraud by scheme

  9. Theft of Government Funds/Property

  10. Abuse or Neglect

  11. Forgery

  12. Identity Theft or Identity Fraud

IMPORTANT: If an applicant self-discloses a felony that is not a barred crime, you must still ask for permission and run a criminal background check through PayeeWiz.

NOTE: The Selection-Decision screen error message will say “Barred Felon”. The non-select reason for this alert is “Criminal Policy”.

e. RP has a RP

The “RP has a RP” alert means the representative payee is a beneficiary or recipient with a representative payee. When this situation occurs, investigate and determine if the applicant is capable of managing his or her benefits, per GN 00502.020. As a person needing a Rep payee, this individual cannot serve as a Rep payee. Do not appoint an applicant as a representative payee if he or she has a representative payee. There are no exceptions to this rule.

NOTE: The Selection-Decision screen error message will say “Applicant has a payee”.

f. RP has death alert DIPS

The “RP has death alert-DIPS” alert means that we received death data for an applicant in the Death Information Processing System (DIPS). When this alert generates, investigate and resolve the death alert. For more information on DIPS Alerts, see GN 02602.051 and GN 02602.065.

NOTE: The Selection-Decision screen error message will say “DIPS death record for payee”. The non-select reason for this alert is “Death of applicant”.

g. RP has death alert NUMI

The “RP has death alert Numi” alert means eRPS detected a Numident Death Match Alert. These Death alerts generate when there is a discrepancy between the death data on the Numident, and the MBR/SSR. You must resolve this alert. For information on Numident Death Match Alerts, see GN 02602.700.

NOTE: The Selection-Decision screen error message will say “Numident death information for applicant”. The non-select reason for this alert is “Death of applicant”.

h. RP has discrepancies between Client Numi

The “RP has discrepancies between Client-data Numi” alert means the SSN input into eRPS does not match the information on the Numident. Double-check that the information you input is accurate. If the applicant needs to update their personal information, see RM 10212.000 and RM 10200.000.

NOTE: The Selection-Decision screen error message will say “Client identity information is discrepant from Numident identity information for applicant”. You must resolve this issue prior to any selection on non-selection of the applicant.

4. Rep Payee Selection Decision Screen Alerts when a Note is required

These alerts generate on the Selection-Decision screen because you must document your justification for selecting the payee applicant. eRPS posts a note box for your completion on the Selection-Required Notes screen (MS INTRANETERPS 012.007).

Some alerts require manager approval. If manager approval is required, the manager must take action on the Approve Selection screen under “Manager Actions” from the eRPS overview screen (MS INTRANETERPS 012.006)

a. RP prev fug felon match-verify status

The “RP prev fug felon match-verify status” alert means that in the past this person was identified with an offense code of 4901, 4902, or 4999 by the Fugitive Felon/eRPS system match process. For fugitive felon prohibition, refer to GN 00502.133A.2 and GN 00504.102. When the fugitive felon/eRPS system identifies a person through the match process, the system builds a fugitive felon match indicator of “Y” on the eRPS. If this remark appears during a new RP application, ask the applicant about his fugitive felon status on the Criminal Warrant Questions screen (MS INTRANETERPS 010.005). If the applicant alleges the outstanding felony warrant is satisfied or is for an offense other than 4901, 4902, or 4999, verify this information before you make your determination (Refer to GN 02613.500A.2). If you confirm that the warrant has been satisfied, update the eRPS on the FUGFEL Crime Record Listing screen (MS INTRANETERPS 010.003).

If the warrant has been satisfied, update the warrant disposition on the Fugitive Felon System Control File Database (FFSCF). (For further instructions on the FFSCF, see MS PRISON 006.003 and MS PRISON 006.006). Document this information on the Make Note screen in eRPS. For more information, refer to GN 00502.132B.2 in this section.

b. RP pre-4/1/09 FF match – ver status

The “RP pre-4/1/09 FF match – ver status” alert means the fugitive felon match process identified the payee before the April 01, 2009, changes required by the Martinez Court Case agreement. (For more information on the Martinez court case see GN 02613.860). It also means the applicant may have an outstanding felony warrant.

You must verify the offense code and if the applicant satisfied the warrant to determine whether the offense code prohibits the applicant from serving as payee. You are required to Document this information when a Note box appears in eRPS. For instructions on determining if the warrant is satisfied, see GN 02613.500A.2.

c. RP self-reported fugitive felon

The “RP self-reported fugitive felon” alert means the payee applicant answered “yes” to the payee application question asking, “do you have any unsatisfied felony warrants for your arrest?” Prohibit a person from serving as a representative payee if he or she has an unsatisfied felony warrant issued for one of the following three offenses:

  • Escape from custody (offense code 4901),

  • Flight to avoid prosecution, confinement, etc. (offense code 4902), and

  • Flight-escape (offense code 4999).

There are no exceptions to this prohibition. If the warrant is satisfied and the individual is no longer a fugitive felon under these three codes, then the individual can serve as payee if he or she is the most suitable applicant and no other prohibited conditions exist.

If the warrant is satisfied or is for an offense code other than 4901, 4902, or 4999, carefully consider the nature of the crime and how the applicant resolved the warrant. Do not appoint the individual as payee if you determine that he or she poses some risk to the beneficiary. For further instructions for payees with past criminal behavior, see GN 00502.133. Document your non-selection or selection in eRPS. For more information on persons who should not be appointed as representative payees, refer to GN 00502.132B.2 in this section.

NOTE: The fugitive felon provisions for representative payees differ from those for benefit payments. The representative payee provisions do not apply to those persons who are parole and probation violators and they do not provide good cause exceptions for those with unsatisfied felony warrants (with offense codes 4901, 4902, or 4999).

d. RP self-reported felon

The “RP self-reported felon” alert means that the current or prior representative payee application indicates the applicant reported he or she was convicted of a felony. When this situation occurs, ask for additional information about the type of crime, when it occurred, and the sentence the applicant received. There are certain felony crimes that bar some applicants from serving as a representative payee. For a list of these crimes, see GN 00502.133.

You may not appoint a payee applicant convicted of a felony crime listed in GN 00502.133A.4 unless there is no other suitable applicant and he or she is

  • the custodial parent of a minor child for whom he or she is applying to be payee;

  • the custodial spouse for the beneficiary for whom he or she is applying to be payee;

  • the custodial parent of a disabled adult child for whom he or she is applying to be payee;

  • the custodial grandparent of the minor grandchild for whom the individual applies to serve;

  • the custodial court appointed guardian of a beneficiary for whom he or she is applying to be payee;

  • a parent who was previously payee for his or her minor child who has since turned 18 and continues to be eligible for benefits; or

  • an individual who has received a presidential or gubernatorial pardon for his or her crimes.

    For other felony crimes not listed in GN 00502.133A.4, do not appoint the applicant unless you have evidence that he or she poses no risk to the beneficiary and there are no other more suitable applicants. Document this information on the Make Note screen in eRPS. For more refer to GN 00502.132B.2 in this section.

e. RP applicant on PUPS database

The “RP applicant on PUPS database” remark means that a PUPS query exists for the payee. If this remark appears during a new RP application, you must query the PUPS record and discuss the prisoner information with the applicant.

If you encounter the alert “RP applicant on PUPS Database”:

  • Query the applicant’s PUPS record, and

  • Review the information on the PUPS record.

    A PUPS record shows the date of confinement, date of conviction, and the release date. Some records may show blanks or 0000s for these dates. If the information is incomplete, ask the payee applicant to provide the missing information following the procedures on verifying criminal history in GN 00502.117B.3. Document this information on the Make Note screen in eRPS. For more information refer to GN 00502.132B.2 in this section.

    If the payee applicant is also a title II beneficiary or SSI recipient, consider the effect of the incarceration on his or her own entitlement or eligibility.

f. RP incarceration for over 1 year

The “RP incarceration for over 1 year” remark means that during the current or prior payee application, the applicant responded that he or she was incarcerated for more than 1 year. When this occurs, ask for additional details about the crime. Document this information on the Make Note screen in eRPS. For more information refer to GN 00502.132B.2 in this section.

By regulation, persons incarcerated for more than 1 year may not serve as payee unless there is a compelling reason to appoint them and you determine it would be in the best interests of the beneficiary.

Do not appoint a representative payee applicant imprisoned for more than 1 year unless you have evidence that he or she poses no risk to the beneficiary and there are no other more suitable applicants.

Do not appoint a payee applicant imprisoned for more than 1 year if he or she has been convicted of a felony crime listed in GN 00502.133A.4. unless there is no other suitable applicant and he or she is:

  • the custodial parent of the minor child for whom he or she is applying to be payee;

  • the custodial spouse of the beneficiary for whom he or she is applying to be payee;

  • the custodial parent of a disabled adult child for whom he or she is applying to be payee;

  • the custodial grandparent of the minor grandchild for whom the individual applies to serve;

  • a parent who was previously payee for his or her minor child who has since turned 18 and continues to be eligible for benefits; or

  • an individual who received a presidential or gubernatorial pardon for his or her crimes and there are no more suitable applicants.

Document this information on the Make Note screen in eRPS. For more information, refer to GN 00502.132B.2 in this section.

g. Applicant between 15 & 17 years old. Document your capability determination

The “15 & 17 years old” alert means the applicant is under age 18. You must justify your capability determination and selection reason because this applicant is a minor child. Minor children are generally presumed to be incapable. For more information regarding a child’s capability, see GN 00502.070.

NOTE: This edit will only appear on the Selection-Decision screen.

h. Confirm FFS status and insurance is still valid.

The “Confirm FFS status and insurance is still valid” alert means there is a FFS issue. A non-governmental FFS organization must be bonded in order to be authorized by SSA to collect a fee. Bonding constitutes a bond or insurance contract that protects the beneficiary from financial loss caused by the action or inaction of the organizational representative payee, or officer(s), or an employee of the organizational payee. For more information of the status of FFS organizations, see GN 00506.015 and GN 00506.400.

i. Misuse allegation pending

The “Misuse allegation pending” alert means the applicant is currently under investigation for misuse. An allegation or information that raises a suspicion of misuse may take various forms and come from many sources. For information on investigating and developing Misuse Allegations, see GN 00604.020.

NOTE: Manager approval is required. Document management’s approval on the Selection-Required Notes screen (MS INTRANETERPS 012.007).

j. eRPA form in the past year pending.

The “eRPA form in the past year pending” alert means the applicant did not complete and return the Annual Representative Payee Report in the prior 12 months. This alert notifies you that a current non-responder is filing an application to serve as the payee. As part of the payee application, question the non-responder to determine if a change of payee is needed for current beneficiaries served and if the payee is most suitable for the application being filed. Management override is required for stuck eRPA cases. For more information on Non-Responders, see GN 00605.085.

NOTE: Manager approval is required for this selection. Document management’s approval on the Selection-Required Notes screen (MS INTRANETERPS 012.007.

k. RP has a history of misuse

The “RP has a history of misuse” remark means that the eRPS contains information that the payee applicant was previously a payee and misused the beneficiary’s benefits. eRPS generates a Misuse Allegation Records screen reflecting information about the past misuse occurrence. While prior misuse is not an absolute bar to representative payee service, it is a very strong indicator that this person is not a good payee candidate.

Do not appoint a representative payee applicant with prior history of misuse unless:

  • the applicant has repaid or established a plan to repay the misused amount,

  • you have evidence that the applicant poses no risk to the beneficiary, and

  • there is not a more suitable applicant.

NOTE: Manager approval is required for this selection. You must prepare a 3 month diary for follow up per GN 00502.134B.2. Document management’s approval on the Selection-Required Notes screen (MS INTRANETERPS 012.007.

l. Payee has a history of being non-selected for poor performance

The “Payee has a history of being non-selected for poor performance” alert means the applicant is a questionable payee choice. You should not appoint an applicant with a history of poor performance unless you determine there is some compelling reason for doing so.

NOTE: Manager approval is required for this selection, see GN 00502.134 for more information regarding poor past performance. Document management’s approval on the Selection-Required Notes screen (MS INTRANETERPS 012.007).

m. Chronic non-responder 2 of 3 recent reports

The “Chronic non-responder 2 of 3 recent reports” alert means the applicant was a non-responder 2 of the last 3 reporting periods that occurred within the past six years. Social Security law and regulations require representative payees to complete accounting report every year. The annual accounting report is used to monitor how the payee spent or saved the benefits on behalf of the beneficiary. This alert provides information on if an applicant is able to fulfill their payee reporting responsibilities. For general information on Non-Responders, see GN 00605.270.

n. Interview was other than Face-to-Face.

The “Interview was other than Face-to-Face” alert means the application was taken over the phone or via Video Service Delivery (VSD). You must justify why the payee application was not taken in a face-to-face setting on the Make Note screen. Interview each payee applicant, including parents with custody who are completing an application for Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income for a child, in a face-to-face setting unless:

  • doing so would cause undue hardship;

  • the payee applicant previously had a face-to-face interview and is currently serving as a payee and is qualified to do so; or

  • the application is being processed in a centralized processing unit and the applicant is a parent with custody of the beneficiary who is his or her minor child or a spouse with custody of the beneficiary who is his or her spouse.

NOTE: If the applicant meets one of the above exceptions to a face-to-face interview, you must conduct a telephone or Video Service Delivery interview.

5. Other alerts

a. PUPS/eRPS match alert

eRPS generates a PUPS/eRPS alert when current prisoner data is matched against the eRPS and a match is found on someone with an active payee record. The alert means we received information from a prison that the payee was (and may still be) incarcerated and therefore we must investigate this person's suitability to continue as payee. This is a post-entitlement process, which produces an alert to the field and establishes an issue in eRPS. For processing instructions on representative payee identified by the PUPS match, refer to GN 00504.103.

b. Fugitive felon/eRPS match alert

eRPS generates the fugitive felon/eRPS match alert when fugitive felon data is received and matches an active or pending rep payee record in the eRPS. Effective April 1, 2009, only unsatisfied felony warrants with offense code 4901, 4902, or 4999 run against the eRPS (parole or probation data screened out). This is a post-entitlement alert process which

  • produces an alert item to the field,

  • establishes a fugitive felon indicator of “Y” on the representative payee’s record (for fugitive felon alerts see GN 00502.132B.3.c in this section), and

  • establishes a Work Issue on the Add New Issue screen (MS INTRANETERPS 008.007) in eRPS.

For processing instructions on representative payees identified by the fugitive felon match, refer to GN 00504.102.

c. Notification that a Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) was imposed

eRPS receives notification any time a CMP is imposed on a current representative payee. Referrals to the Office of the Inspector General, (OIG) can result in the imposition of a CMP. OIG imposes a CMP when they determine the individual’s conduct was bad enough to merit its imposition.

Weigh the circumstances that caused the CMP and determine if the payee remains a suitable payee choice. Manually record information about the CMP on the Make Note screen in eRPS.

C. References

  • GN 02201.001 Overpayments - General

  • GN 02613.500 Reinstating Benefits

  • GN 02613.860 Martinez Court Case Settlement — Overview

  • GN 00502.133 Payee Applicant is a Felon or Fugitive or Has Been Convicted of Other Criminal Act

  • GN 00504.102 Representative Payees Identified by the Fugitive Felon Match

  • GN 00502.020 Determining Capability-Adult Beneficiaries

  • MS INTRANETERPS 012.002 Selection-Decision Screen

  • MS INTRANETERPS 012.006 Approve Selection Screen

  • MS INTRANETERPS 012.007 Selection-Required Notes Screen

  • MS INTRANETERPS 015.002 Make Note Screen


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200502132
GN 00502.132 - Selecting a Qualified Representative Payee (RP) - 04/15/2016
Batch run: 04/15/2016
Rev:04/15/2016