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Disability Programs in the 21st Century Series: The Representative Payee Program, September 2010

For more than 70 years, the Social Security Administration has been issuing checks to representative payees who manage the money for beneficiaries who are not able to manage their own benefits. More than five million Old-age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance beneficiaries and nearly three million Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries have payees. SSA has taken steps to deal with the risk that payees will use the benefits for their own purposes. In this Issue Brief we examine ways in which SSA can improve its management of the representative payee program.