Moving Forward – Implementing Changes in the Representative Payee Program
- September 7, 2018; 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
- The U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, HVC-201AB P
Summary: On Friday, September 7, 2018, the Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB) held a day-long forum on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) representative payee program. This forum continued SSAB’s longstanding effort to support and improve a vital government program serving approximately eight million people who need assistance in managing benefits provided by the SSA.
This forum brought policymakers, practitioners and researchers together to explore how SSA can study and improve the representative payee selection process with an evidence-based approach. Recent legislation, “The Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018″ (H.R. 4547) made this event especially timely.
- Kim Hildred, Chair, Social Security Advisory Board
Panel I: Historical and Legislative Overview of the Representative Payee Program
- Kathryn Olson, Minority Staff Director, Subcommittee on Social Security, House Committee on Ways & Means
- Amy Shuart, Majority Staff Director, Subcommittee on Social Security, House Committee on Ways & Means
- Lanhee J. Chen, PhD, Member, Social Security Advisory Board (moderator)
- Mark J. Warshawsky, PhD, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration
Panel II: Exploring Different Experiences: Representative Payee Order of Preference in the Selection and Replacement Process
- Miatta Edi-Osagie, Administrator, River Terrace Rehabilitation & Healthcare Service, Marquis Health Services
- Jennifer Flynn, Senior Director, CrissCross Representative Payee Services, Money Management International
- Jerry Hynes, Vice President of Payee Services, Skils’kin
- Kate Lang, Senior Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging
- Christy Respress, MSW, Executive Director, Pathways to Housing DC
- Kim Hildred, Chair, Social Security Advisory Board (moderator)
Panel III: Evidence-Based Approaches to Representative Payee Policy
- Nick Hart, PhD, Director, Evidence-Based Policymaking Initiative, Bipartisan Policy Center
- James J. Klein, San Francisco Audit Division Director, Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration
- Peri Jude Radecic, Chief Executive Officer, Disability Rights Pennsylvania
- Pamela B. Teaster, PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Gerontology, Virginia Tech
- Henry Aaron, PhD, Member, Social Security Advisory Board (moderator)
- Bernadette Franks-Ongoy, Member, Social Security Advisory Board
SSAB representative payee chart collection, view here.
Previous SSAB Publications on Representative Payees
This paper summarizes the board’s recommendations for both immediate changes by SSA and a plan for broader government-wide action. The board found broad interest in improving SSA’s rep payee program and reached bipartisan agreement on how to do so.
The Social Security Advisory Board calls for Congress, the Social Security Administration (SSA), and interested stakeholders to reexamine the Representative Payee (“payee”) Program. SSA’s procedures for appointing, selecting, training, and monitoring payees should be reviewed, and a plan should be developed for identifying beneficiaries with declining financial capability.
In this Issue Brief we examine ways in which SSA can improve its management of the Representative Payee Program. 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.
This paper looks at SSA’s statutory authority, the selection process for rep payees and the different responsibilities of rep payees in SSI and in SSA’s other programs. It also provides an overview of the make-up of the current SSI rep payee program for adult beneficiaries. Although there are troubling issues in the SSI children’s program, touched on in the 2014 SSI statement, this paper focuses on adult beneficiaries. Finally, this report explores a growing movement to replace programs that “care for” individuals with those which tailor support on a case-by-case basis and help beneficiaries retain as much autonomy as possible.
A major section of the Board’s 2014 SSI Statement addresses the role of representative payees for child SSI recipients in foster care and the process in which those rep payees are appointed.
One section of the Board’s 2002 SSI Statement focuses on accountability of representative payees.