Working With Social Security On Behalf Of Someone Else

Summarizing the phone call, the woman was saying “I’m just trying to help my Dad and you are not letting me even though I have power of attorney” while the Social Security representative was trying to explain how the matter at hand could be resolved. 

How to work with the Social Security Administration concerning the benefits of another person is today’s topic.

Before Social Security can change a record, such as updating an address, we must verify not only who is contacting us but that they are the proper person to work with. For example, when a person receiving Social Security benefits calls the national SSA toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or their local office, they are asked for information that the Social Security representative matches against information on the record. Assuming everything matches, the action requested is completed because the person is calling about his or her own benefits. If a change involves both members of a couple, we speak to both. 

If you are calling Social Security on behalf of a parent or another adult, one way to make this easier for everyone is for the person and you to both be by the phone. After verifying the identity of Mom, Dad or whomever you are helping, they could tell the SSA representative to speak to you and then hand over the phone. 

What about power of attorney? Power of attorney is a legal process where one individual grants a third party the authority to transact certain business for that individual. They can be for different purposes but overall are not recognized by the Treasury Department for purposes of negotiating federal payments, including Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks. In short, Social Security cannot recognize power of attorney. You might consider this a burden but the Social Security Administration is trying to protect our beneficiaries.  

Some actions can be completed online at With a my Social Security account, people already receiving Social Security retirement, survivors or disability benefits or enrolled in Medicare can change their address and other contact information including bank information for direct deposit (electronic fund transfer) of payments. 

Today’s example assumes the person you are helping can contact Social Security on their own but wants you to make the contact for them. What happens if this person cannot help themself? Next time.