A beneficiary under age 18 is generally considered incapable of managing his or her own funds, and a representative payee is needed.
Payments may be made directly to a beneficiary under age 18 if:
The beneficiary is age 15 or over; and
It serves the beneficiary's best interests; and
The beneficiary does not have a legal guardian; and
The beneficiary is:
Receiving disability insurance benefits on his or her own Social Security earnings record; or
Serving in the military services; or
Self-supporting and living alone; or
A parent and files for his or her own or his or her child's benefits, and has experience in handling his or her own finances; or
Capable of using the funds to provide for his or her own current needs and no qualified payee is available; or
Within seven months of reaching age 18 and is initially filing an application for benefits.
Note: If a minor beneficiary has the status of an adult under State law, he or she may be paid directly.
Last Revised: Aug. 2, 2007
Social Security Handbook