Protective Payees
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Protective Payees

Revised November 9, 2011

Purpose: Based upon an assessment, individuals are assigned contracted Protective Payees to ensure that assistance funds are used to provide for basic needs and child-care payments.


Protective payees manage TANF/ABD/PWA cash funds and make payments to the appropriate person or business. Protective payees are assigned to individuals for the following reasons:

  1. To provide the parent with money management training when the individual has a history of mismanagement of funds. Protective Payees are assigned to individuals who have mismanaged their assistance funds, this may include individual who abuse or are addicted to drugs or alcohol.   See WAC 388-460-0035  When is a protective payee assigned for mismanagement of funds? (EA-Z manual).
  2. Who are unmarried pregnant or parenting minors receiving benefits for themselves and / or their child.  See WAC 388-460-0040   When is a protective payee assigned to TANF/SFA pregnant or parenting minors? (EA-Z Manual)

What to look for:

  1. Assigning a protective payee to individuals if there is evidence of the following:
    1. Repeated failure to meet obligations for rent, food and other essentials on behalf of themselves or a child in their care;
    2. Repeated requests for additional help because of an eviction or shut-off notice;
    3. A child is not being properly cared for;
    4. Mismanagement of funds due to misuse of alcohol or drugs;
    5. An apparent inability to handle daily affairs.

Establish a protective payee only when other approaches to correct or address the issues above have been unsuccessful.

  1. Do not establish a protective payee when the cause of unpaid obligations is simply insufficient funds or a temporary lack of funds due to an emergency.


Complete an assessment on the family's or individual's conditions and how the household funds are utilized. The decision to impose a payee should be based upon facts or the best available information. During the assessment, determine if there are other alternatives that would assist the person rather than requiring a protective payee. If the person has not been paying the bills because of a lack of funds then there is no case for imposing a payee. It must be within the individual's control. Example: Having the money to pay the rent but choosing not to as opposed to having a roommate move out and leaving the entire rent to be paid.

For minor parent cases, it is mandatory to impose a payee. The only time not impose a payee is when the minor is emancipated, marries, is married or turns 18.

The protective payee payment plan needs to be complete with all the bills you want paid by the payee and how you want the remainder of the money to be released to the client. Over $100, two equal payment at the first of the month and at the middle. For some clients it may be better to have weekly payments such as those in rehab or who are dealing with other limitations.

All documentation must be done in PPTS in Barcode which keeps a permanent record of the evidence and the decision making that you made.

See the Payees - C. Protective Payees in the Eligibility A-Z Manual for complete details on the rules and process for establishing a protective payee.

Modification Date: November 9, 2011