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Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
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Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation (DCMWC)

Information about Representative Payees

Under the regulations, black lung benefits may be paid only to a beneficiary, the legal guardian of a beneficiary, or to a representative payee authorized to receive payments on behalf of a beneficiary. In certain situations where a beneficiary is unable to handle his or her own benefits, the District Director may require that a payee be appointed to ensure that payments are used only for the use and benefit of the beneficiary.

A representative payee is the person, agency, organization, or institution selected to receive and manage benefits on behalf of an incapable beneficiary. This includes a parent who is receiving benefits on behalf of his/her minor child. Some beneficiaries are not able to manage or direct the management of their finances because of their youth or mental or physical impairment.

Becoming a representative payee

If you have contacted the Department of Labor by phone or mail because a beneficiary has been ill or has entered a nursing home, or you have signed a DOL form as power of attorney, you may be asked to become a payee or to assist the Department in finding a representative payee. You may also be taking this step on your own. In either case, you will need to complete a CM-910, Request To Be Selected As Payee. In most cases, we will also ask for a CM-787, Physician’s/Medical Officer’s Statement. The Physician’s statement will usually not be needed if you are applying to become payee for a minor child, or if you have been appointed representative payee by the Social Security Administration, or if you are the beneficiary’s legal guardian.

After a careful investigation, we appoint a relative, friend or other interested party to serve as the representative payee. Often a nursing home is willing to act as payee. This means that DOL will pay benefits to the representative payee to use on his or her behalf. Having power-of-attorney alone is not sufficient to become representative payee.

Responsibilities of a representative payee

Payees are restricted to using black lung benefits only for the use and benefit of the beneficiary. The funds must be used for the beneficiary's food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and personal comfort items. If the beneficiary is in an institution, the funds should be used for the customary charges made by the institution, and for those items for personal needs which will improve or maintain the beneficiary's condition or general well-being. Benefits may be used to support the beneficiary's legally dependent spouse, child or parent, as long as the beneficiary's own needs are satisfied. As a general rule, a payee may not take a fee from the beneficiary’s funds for services as a representative payee. If you have questions about this, contact your Black Lung district office.

Reporting requirements of a representative payee

We will ask you to provide a yearly report of the benefits you received and spent for the beneficiary. Please keep a record during the year of any unusual expenditures made with the beneficiary's black lung benefits. If the beneficiary is residing with you, we will ask you to complete form CM-623s, Representative Payee Report (short form). If the beneficiary is living in an institution or anywhere other than the representative payee’s home, we will ask you to complete form CM-623, Representative Payee Report.