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New law will increase oversight of representative payees

A new measure recently signed in to law after being passed unanimously by Congress will increase oversight over "representative payees" and will also give those in Central Florida who are receiving disability benefits, including both SSI and SSDI, more input into the decision as to whom their representative payee will be.

For those who do not know, a representative payee, as the name implies, is someone to whom the Social Security Administration will pay benefits on the disabled person's behalf. Even without the consent of the person receiving benefits, the Administration can appoint a representative payee if it appears to the Administration that the person is not able to manage those benefits on his or her own. In theory, the representative payee is supposed to spend the benefits on the disabled person's needs and be able to prove that they did so.

This new law will regulate more tightly who can qualify to be a representative payee. For instance, a person may be barred if he or she has a certain type of criminal conviction. Moreover, a person may not be a representative payee for someone else if he or she has such a person appointed in his or her own Social Security case. Finally, the law will allow beneficiaries to list individuals that they would like to have serve as their representative payees should one be necessary.

The aim of the law is to cut down on instances in which an unscrupulous representative payee winds up stealing or misusing a disabled person's benefits. With over 8 million people receiving their disability or other Social Security payments through representative payees, hopefully the new measure will serve to ensure that disabled Central Florida residents get all of the payments to which they are entitled.

Source: disabilityscoop.com, "Trump signs bill adding protections for Social Security, SSI recipients," Shaun Heasley, April 17, 2018

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