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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

Acting as an "Agent"

2146. Acting as an "Agent"

2146.1 Can an SSI beneficiary have someone act as their agent?

It is not uncommon to find an individual (or an institution or other organization, such as a State welfare agency) acting as an "agent" on behalf of another individual.

2146.2 What does an agent do?

Acting as an agent is somewhat similar to being a representative payee (see Chapter 16) and may even include the representative payee function. Being an agent simply means that the agent is acting on behalf of another person.

2146.3 Do agents get paid?

An agent does not derive income or resources from that function unless:

  1. The agent is paid a fee for services; or

  2. The agent misuses the other person's funds.

A SSI recipient may give money to another recipient who will do some grocery shopping for the first recipient. The money belongs to the first recipient and any food purchased with it has been paid for by that first recipient, so the food is not considered in-kind support and maintenance. The second recipient, acting as an agent of the first, does not receive income when the first person's funds are used on behalf of that first person.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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my sons mother drinks most of his ssi payment.

September 23, 2011 by Guest

My marriage is in shambles and my wife drinks up most of my step sons ssi payment. She is his payee, he is 13 yrs old. And she has been drinking for 3 weeks. And I think she is waiting for his next ssi check to drink with her new boyfriend.

Reporting abuse or fraud

September 24, 2011 by David Luhman

You may want to report this potential misuse of funds to Social Security.

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