Skip to main content

Planning for peace of mind: Social Security Advance Designation

When planning your financial future, it’s important to think about the unexpected. That includes preparing for a time when you’re not able to manage your own money.

To help, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers Social Security Advance Designation . Advance Designation gives you peace of mind by allowing you to recommend someone you trust to manage your Social Security benefits if you become unable to do so yourself.

What is an Advance Designation?

If you need help at some point in the future, Social Security Advance Designation lets you to choose up to three people to serve as your “representative payee.” A representative payee is someone who the SSA appoints to manage your Social Security benefits if you are unable to do so. You can change your designees at any time. If you choose advance designees, the SSA will send you a notice each year so you can review the people you chose. When picking a designee, choose someone who you think has a genuine concern for your well-being. You may not designate an organization to be an advance designee.

Social Security Advance Designation is not the same as appointment of a representative payee. With Advance Designation, you still manage your own benefits for as long as you’re able. But if your situation changes and you need help, the SSA will evaluate your Advance Designation to make sure the person you chose is suitable to serve as your representative payee at that time.

Who can make an Advance Designation?

You may make an Advance Designation if you are:

  • A capable adult or emancipated minor;
  • Receiving or claiming Social Security retirement or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Special Veterans Benefits; and
  • Do not have a representative payee currently.

When should I submit an Advance Designation?

You can submit your Advance Designation Request when you apply for benefits or after you are already receiving benefits. If you are not yet receiving or claiming Social Security benefits, you must wait until you are receiving benefits to name advance designees.

How can I make an Advance Designation?

You may submit or change your Advance Designation in a few ways:

Print this Social Security Advance Designation piece to share with older adults in your community.

The Social Security Administration offers free interpreter services and a multilanguage gateway to help consumers who speak other languages.