Guardianship and the Representative Payee Program
Research suggests that 0.3 percent of all adults have been appointed a legal guardian. While the requirements for being placed into guardianship can vary from state to state, a lack of decision-making capacity is a precondition. As a result, one would expect Social Security beneficiaries who have a guardian to also have their guardian act as a representative payee. Yet, little is known about the relationship between guardianship and the Representative Payee Program. In response to a request from the Social Security Administration, this report uses the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) linked to the Social Security Master Beneficiary File (MBF) and the Supplemental Security Record (SSR) to investigate three questions: 1) how many beneficiaries with representative payees have guardians? 2) how many beneficiaries have their guardian as their payee? 3) and what are the characteristics of those with both a payee and a guardian. Because the SIPP does not include individuals residing in nursing homes, the project also examines data from the Health and Retirement Study which does include these individuals.