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What is the difference between … ?

Authorized Representative

A substitute decision maker for a person with a disability. The designation is agency-specific and each agency might have different criteria for its Authorized Representative.

Power of Attorney

A written document signed by a competent person granting to another person authority to conduct the signer’s business affairs. Durable Power of Attorney is authorization that does not terminate if the signer later becomes incapacitated.

Representative Payee

A person who acts as the receiver of United States Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income for a person who is not fully capable of managing their own benefits, i.e. cannot be their own payee.


A person appointed by a court who looks after, and is legally responsible for, someone who is unable to manage his or her own affairs.


An individual person, bank or other company which administers property in accordance with a written trust agreement. The Trustee has a legal obligation to administer the property solely for the purposes specified in the trust document.


A a formalized (legal) and self-sustaining circle of support that provides oversight and guidance for an individual with a disability over the course of his or her life. A microboard is a legal Virginia company (usually a non-stock, not-for-profit corporation) that can be named as Representative Payee, Authorized Representative, or Guardian for a person with a disability,  thus eliminating the need for changing legal documents when the individual agents become unavailable. The Board of Directors of the microboard may change over time but the microboard itself has perpetual existence so that the person with a disability receives continuous support and advocacy for his or her entire lifetime.