SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home1602. What about a beneficiary under age 18?

1602.1 If a beneficiary is under age 18, is a representative payee necessary?

Yes. We generally consider a beneficiary under age 18 incapable of managing his or her own funds, and in need of a representative payee.

1602.2 Will SSA ever make direct payment to beneficiaries under age 18?

We may make direct payments to a beneficiary under age 18 if:

  1. The beneficiary is age 15 or over; and

  2. It serves the beneficiary's best interests; and

  3. The beneficiary does not have a legal guardian; and

  4. The beneficiary is:

    1. Receiving disability insurance benefits on his or her own Social Security earnings record; or

    2. Serving in the military services; or

    3. Self-supporting and living alone; or

    4. 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

    5. Capable of using the funds to provide for his or her own current needs and no qualified payee is available; or

    6. 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, we may also make direct payment.

Last Revised: Nov. 16, 2010