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Retirement Planning > Social Security

Senate Passes Social Security Beneficiaries Act

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The Senate passed on Friday the Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017, H.R. 4547, which requires the Social Security Administration to make annual grants to each state’s protection and advocacy system to allow for reviews of representative payees under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program.

A representative payee is a person or organization who manages retirees’ Social Security benefits when they are unable to do so themselves. Approximately 5.5 million beneficiaries rely on a representative payee, according to AARP.

AARP applauded the bipartisan bill, which passed the House in February, for also adding “stronger protections to deter fraud and abuse by payees, including through expanded use of background checks.”

Representative payees, which AARP says are expected to grow “substantially in number as baby boomers receive their earned retirement benefits, play a critical role in serving the interests of vulnerable Social Security beneficiaries.”

The bill also does the following:

  • “Lessens certain monitoring requirements” with respect to specified family members who are serving as representative payees.
  • Requires the SSA to enter into agreements with each state for the purpose of sharing information to identify represented minor beneficiaries who are in foster care; and determine the appropriate representative payee for any represented minor beneficiary who has entered foster care, exited foster care, or changed foster care placement in a given month.
  • The Government Accountability Office must report to specified congressional committees on certain issues related to represented minor beneficiaries in foster care.
  • Modifies provisions related to overpayment liability with respect to a represented minor beneficiary in foster care.
  • Requires the SSA to report to specified congressional committees on certain issues related to representative payment with respect to SSI and OASDI benefits.
  • States that an individual who has been convicted of a felony, or of an attempt or a conspiracy to commit a felony, may not serve as a representative payee, and that an individual who has a representative payee may not also serve as a representative payee.

— Check out Bill Would Increase Social Security for Widows, Divorcees on ThinkAdvisor.


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