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SSAB Publishes Representative Payee Selection Study in Advance of September 24 Forum

September 16, 2020

Washington, DC – Today the Social Security Advisory Board (“Board”) is publishing an independent, Board-commissioned study, Selection Processes for SSA Representative Payees of Adults. The authors, Pamela Teaster and Laura Sands (both from the Virginia Tech Center on Gerontology), and Erica Wood (formerly American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging), will present the report during the Board’s upcoming virtual policy forum, Representative Payees: Opportunities to Improve Service Delivery, on Thursday, September 24.

Read the Paper

The researchers met with Social Security field office employees and collected input from a survey of Social Security field office managers. Their 35 recommendations were identified to improve Social Security’s payee appointment and selection. These recommendations include:

  • Implementing more specific SSA guidance and training on supported decision-making
  • Improving medical forms to highlight functional findings
  • Ensuring consistent casework review for payee determinations
  • Applying additional field office scrutiny when selecting guardian payees
  • Enhancing information sharing with courts to help address misuse and abuse
  • Adding more detailed justifications for selecting organizational payees
  • Establishing criteria for adequate organizational payee staffing and resources
  • Differentiating nonprofit agencies that provide other social services to the beneficiary in the selection preference lists for adults without substance abuse conditions
  • Training facility payees and conducting audits on smaller facilities
  • Fostering relationships with state or local long-term care ombudsmen
  • Prohibiting facilities with contracts that require payee designation as a condition of admission
  • Further training of Social Security staff to address practice inconsistencies, especially around face-to-face meetings, substance abuse, and criminal history

The Board welcomes participation at the forum.

The Board’s mission is to advise the President, Congress, and Commissioner of Social Security on the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. The Board is comprised of Presidential and Congressional appointees and a professional staff.