Although someone receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income payments may request a specific representative payee, the Social Security Administration makes the final selection. A Social Security representative payee receives Social Security and SSI payments on the recipient's behalf, according to the Social Security Administration.
The Social Security Administration assigns a representative payee to a Social Security or SSI recipient when the recipient needs help managing his finances. The representative payee must use the payments received to pay for the Social Security recipient's housing, food, medical expenses and other bills. Representative payees may be family members of the recipient, or they may be legal guardians, attorneys, nursing homes or other institutions.