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NEW LEGISLATION INCREASES OVERSIGHT OF SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES

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New federal legislation will increase oversight of representative payees who manage Social Security disability payments made to beneficiaries. In most cases, Social Security disability payments are handled by the beneficiary himself or herself. However, in some cases, beneficiaries may be incapable of handling their own financial decisions. In such cases, a representative payee manages payments on behalf of the beneficiary.

Representative payee are expected to handle opening and maintaining bank accounts, receiving and maintaining the Social Security disability claim payouts, and coordinating with the beneficiary and loved ones in order to ensure that the funds are used exclusively for the beneficiary’s benefit.

However, there are instances where representative payees abuse these privileges and misuse funds. This may occur partially because of the minimal oversight over the representative payee’s allocation of the funds.

In order to tackle this potential for abuse, Congress recently passed legislation called Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act to expand oversight of representative payees. Under the new legislation, disability advocates now have new tools that will help them to protect disability beneficiary funds and prevent them from being misused. The laws already require that states operate and fund a separate Protection and Advocacy agency that is specifically in charge of investigating violations of disability discrimination laws, including the misuse of beneficiary funds. However, the new legislation allows Congress to allocate additional funds to each Protection and Advocacy agency. These funds will be used by the agency to conduct on-site inspections of representative payees.

The new laws will go a long way in helping increase protection of vulnerable Social Security disability beneficiaries and ensuring that their funds are solely and exclusively used for their own good. If you have any question about Social Security Disability Benefits, please contact this law firm.