Those privacy laws are behind SSA’s rules regarding trying to help your grandma (or anyone else for that matter) with their Social Security matters. Having “power of attorney” over someone gives you absolutely no right to break the law that says SSA must keep our Social Security information private.
I hear many of you say, “But come on, Tom; this lady is just trying to help her grandmother change her bank address.” And I understand that point. But you have to understand that the law is very clear on this. As long as people are mentally capable to handle their own Social Security affairs, they have that right to the privacy of their records.
Those two words, “mentally capable,” are the keys to helping Grandma with her Social Security matters. Or to turn that around, if she’s mentally unable to manage her own affairs with Social Security, you, or another close relative, can be named as what SSA calls her “representative beneficiary.”
If that happens, Grandma’s Social Security checks will be in your name and sent to her bank account, your account, or some type of joint account that you set up. And once you’re named her representative beneficiary, you can (and should) handle all of her other Social Security matters.
So if grandma is just having a hard time making ends meet, but she’s still in a good mental state, then she (whatever help you can give her) will have to take care of her own Social Security matters. For example, with your help, she can call SSA at 800-772-1213 or go online at: www.socialsecurity.gov to change its direct deposit details.