Powers of Attorney/Third Party Representatives for Annuitants

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Powers of Attorney/Third Party Representatives for Annuitants 


Overview

Many states let a Power of Attorney (POA) handle another person’s finances or other legal paperwork regardless of that person’s competency. These state laws often conflict with federal laws. Military retirement and annuities fall under federal law, which takes priority over state law.

DFAS has several avenues for allowing a loved one or trusted individual to help with an annuitant's account. These avenues are called “third-party representation” and they fall into two categories, either non-pay-related or pay-related representation. 

Please note: The below third-party representation options apply to adult annuitants only. There are different options for minor or incapacitated child annuitants.


Non-Pay-Related versus Pay-Related Representation

Non-Pay-Related (e.g., General Power of Attorney)

A third-party representative (e.g., General Power of Attorney) who is granted non-pay-related authority cannot make changes to annuitant payments (banking information) from DFAS. The representative may assist the retiree in many other matters, such as:

  • Correspondence address changes

  • Issuing account statements and 1099 forms

  • Completing reports of existence

  • Completing and signing annuity applications

  • Requests for copies of documents

  • Obtaining account information protected by the Privacy Act of 1974

Pay-Related

A third-party representative with pay-related authority can control and make changes to the banking and pay information for the annuitant account at DFAS.

They can also make non-pay-related changes. 
 

Below is a table summarizing the types of third party representation and the requirements.

Third-Party Representative Type

Authority

Documents Required

     
General Power of
Attorney (GPOA)
Non pay-related matters only;
terminates upon incapacity
of annuitant
Executed Power
of Attorney
     
Representative
Payee

Pay-related and
non-pay-related

Medical statement and
Representative Payee
Certification
     
Court-Appointed
Guardianship

 
Pay-related and
non-pay-related
 
Court order signed
by a judge
 

 

Specific Types of Third-Party Representatio

Non-Pay-Related Authority

General Power of Attorney
 
A General Power of Attorney (GPOA) allows a third party to make non-pay-related changes. The annuitant cannot be incapacitated and must sign a Power of Attorney document appointing the agent. No medical evaluation is needed. 

Pay-Related Authority

Representative Payee

A Representative Payee, or “rep payee” is recognized for annuitants only. It is similar in scope to a Durable Power of Attorney for retirees, and includes the ability to make pay-related changes to the annuitant account at DFAS. 

A medical statement signed by a physician and a Representative Payee Certification form are required. The medical statement must state that the annuitant is incapable of handling their own affairs.

The rep payee is appointed by DFAS, not by the annuitant. DFAS will appoint a Rep Payee according to an order of preference, with spouse being most preferred, followed by son or daughter, brother or sister, parents, head of federal or state institution, trustee, and finally any other individual whose appointment appears to be in the annuitant’s best interest.

DFAS Form 9415 (Representative Payee Certification) may be used to request a rep payee authority. Download this form at: 
https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/forms.html

Court-Appointed Guardianship 

A guardianship is based on an order of a court appointing a guardian for the annuitant’s estate or property, which would encompass the annuitant’s account at DFAS. A guardianship requires a certified copy of the court order, signed by a judge, bearing the seal of the court and showing the appointment of the guardian. A guardianship takes precedence over any other third-party representation on file at DFAS.

 

Note: The information on this website is provided to explain typical situations regarding retiree and annuitant benefits. For details and exceptions, please see applicable laws, financial management regulations, and instructions.

Page Updated July 26, 2019