Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×
Search
Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Can I manage my mother’s Social Security if I have power of attorney?

 

No. The Social Security Administration does not recognize power of attorney as conferring authority to manage another person’s benefits. Nor is it sufficient to have your name on your mother’s bank account or be her authorized representative. To manage a parent’s Social Security, you have to be appointed a representative payee by Social Security.

member card

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

Your chief responsibility in this role is to make sure your mother’s benefits are used to meet her essential needs, such as food, shelter, household bills and medical care. It’s also permissible to use the money for personal needs such as clothing, household items and recreation.

Social Security advises that any remaining funds go into an interest-bearing account or savings bonds for your mom’s future needs. You can’t be an owner of the account or bonds, and you can’t mingle these funds with your own money. You’ll need to keep records of how you spent and saved your mother’s benefits; Social Security requires some representative payees to file an annual report.

Applying to become a representative payee usually requires a face-to-face interview at your local Social Security office, which you can schedule by calling 800-772-1213. You’ll need to bring proof of your identity. The Social Security publication “A Guide for Representative Payees” has more information on payees’ responsibilities.

Keep in mind

Family members or close friends of the beneficiary typically serve as representative payees, but Social Security can also appoint a qualified organization for the role.

Join AARP to continue reading

Find exclusive interviews, smart advice, free novels, full documentaries, fun daily features and much more — all a benefit of your AARP membership — on Members Only Access.

Join AARP for Members Only Access

Already a Member?