The past Friday, the Senate passed the Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017, H.R. 4547. The legislation forces the Social Security Administration to submit yearly grants to every state’s protection and advocacy system for the purpose of reviewing representative payees under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program.
A representative payee is someone or an entity which handles the Social Security benefits of a retired person in the instance that they cannot do so themselves. The AARP estimates that around 5.5 million beneficiaries are managed by a representative payee.
AARP supported the bipartisan bill, which the House passed in February, for the addition of “stronger protections to deter fraud and abuse by payees, including through expanded use of background checks.”
Representative payees, who AARP expects to grow “substantially in number as baby boomers receive their earned retirement benefits, play a critical role in serving the interests of vulnerable Social Security beneficiaries.”
The bill also does the following:
- “Lessens certain monitoring requirements” concerning specified family members who are serving as representative payees.
- Forces the SSA to get into negotiations with every state to share information revealing represented minor beneficiaries who are in foster care, and figure out the necessary representative payee for any minor beneficiary who has gone in foster care, leaving foster care, or altered foster care placement in a certain month.
- The Government Accountability Office needs to report to certain congressional committees about particular issues relevant to represented minor beneficiaries in foster care.
- Alters provisions relevant to overpayment liability with acknowledgment to a represented minor beneficiary in foster care.
- The Social Security Administration must report to specified congressional committees on particular issues about representative payments concerning SSI and OASDI benefits.
- Lawfully states that someone who has been convicted of a felony, or of an attempt or a conspiracy to commit a felony, cannot serve as a representative payee and that someone who is managed by a representative payee cannot serve as a representative payee.