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Balance Info-Beneficiary of Representative Payee

Answered by: 

Question: 
If a beneficiary of a representative payee account calls and wants to know the balance of their account, are we allowed or required to tell them since they are technically the owner?
Answer: 

Any discussion on this issue should begin with the bank's review of A Guide for Representative Payees and When a Representative Payee Manages Your Money. One prior discussion in the Threads pointed to a section in the latter publication where the beneficiary is referred to the representative, not to the bank, for information:

What to do if you have problems with your payee

You and your payee should talk about how much money you receive from Social Security and how it is being spent on your needs. Then talk with your payee about how you want to use your money. If you cannot agree on how to spend your money, contact Social Security.

Neither publication contains any direct discusssion on whether the bank can share information with the person under the disability. More to the point, they certainly do not prohibit giving them the information.


Personally, I see no justification for refusing to give the information to the person on whose behalf the payment is made - this person is not necessarily legally incompetent. It is the only way they would know if the funds are being misused. I can envision a number of circumstances where the inquiries could become a nuisance to the bank or to the representative payee, but I can see some pot holes in the other road just as clearly.

It's ultimately a judgment call for your bank.

First published on BankersOnline.com 10/15/12

First published on 10/15/2012

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