Why is this issue important? In recent years,
SSA’s representative payment program has received attention from:
– Congress – the Federal Courts – the media – advocacy groups

Reference Materials
Social Security Program:
• Understanding the Benefits Pub No. 0510024 • Retirement Benefits Pub No. 05-10035 • Disability Benefits Pub No. 05-10029 • Survivors Benefits Pub No. 05-10084 • Working While Disabled…How We Can Help Pub No. 05-10095 • Basic Facts Pub No. 5-10080

Reference Materials
Representative Payment Program:
. A Guide for Representative Payees Pub No. 05-10076 . What You Should Know When A Payee Manages Your Money Pub No. 0510097 . Guide for Organizational Payees Pub No. 17-013

Supplemental Security Income Program:
•A Guide to SSI for Groups and Organizations Pub No. 05-11015 •What You Need to Know When You Get SSI Pub No. 05-11011 •Understanding Supplemental Security Income Pub No. 17-008

Unit 1

Two major benefit programs
1.Retirement, Survivors & Disability Insurance (RSDI)
• Social insurance program • Protects workers & their families from loss of earnings due to: retirement, death, or disability
Unit 1

2.Supplemental Security Income

Two major benefit programs:

• Federal income maintenance program • Provides cash assistance for: aged, blind, or disabled people with little or no income or resources

Unit 1

Unit 2

The representative payment program
Assists most vulnerable members of society who are:
– young, or – elderly, or – disabled, and/or – not capable of managing or directing someone else to manage their finances.

Unit 2

What is a representative payee?
• Person, • Agency, • Organization, or • Institution selected to receive and manage benefits on behalf of an incapable or legally incompetent beneficiary.

Unit 2

Who needs a representative payee?
• Children under age 18 • Beneficiaries determined legally incompetent • Beneficiaries determined by SSA to be incapable of handling their money
Unit 2

Power-of-Attorney
• For Social Security, having power-ofattorney or a joint bank accounting with the beneficiary is NOT the same thing as being a representative payee. • Being a Social Security representative payee does not entitle an individual to manage any funds that aren’t Social Security or SSI payments.
Unit 2

Unit 3

Applying to be a representative payee
• Contact your local Social Security office • Face-to-face interview
– Documented proof of identity – Current mailing & location address – Bank account information (for direct deposit)
Unit 3

How SSA selects a payee
Conduct a face-to-face interview to:
• Determine relationship to the beneficiary, • Discuss qualifications, • Discuss ability to carry out responsibilities of a rep payee, • Explain rep payee duties, • Explain reporting responsibilities, and • Explain liability for not reporting changes.
Unit 3

Requests for a change of payee
Social Security will:
• Contact the current payee for his or her views • Investigate allegations raised about the current payee’s suitability to serve • Send a notice to the current payee explaining the change
Unit 3

Unit 4

Duties of an organizational representative payee
• Use the payments for the beneficiary’s current needs & save the remainder. • File accounting report. • Notify Social Security when the beneficiary is no longer your responsibility
Unit 4

Duties of an organizational representative payee
• Report all required events • File an annual report of earnings • Notify SSA when you can no longer serve as payee • Return any conserved funds if you stop being payee
Unit 4

Other ways to help the beneficiary
• Meet regularly with him/her • Establish a budget & discuss it with him/her • Involve him/her in financial decisions • Explain Social Security and SSI payments • Explain expenses • Make him/her aware of large retroactive payments
Unit 4

Other ways to help the beneficiary
• Help him/her find needed services • Help him/her fill out applications for needed services • Help him/her get medical treatment, as needed • Negotiate with landlords & others for best deals • Help him/her file income tax returns • Recommend new payee if you cannot continue to serve
Unit 4

Unit 5

Any changes in the life of a beneficiary that could change his or her benefit. For example:
•Death •Marriage, divorce or annulment •Change in school attendance •Change of address/moves •No longer has a child in care •Convicted of a crime •Medical condition improves •Starts working
Unit 5

•Receives worker’s compensation •Discharged from the hospital •Household changes •Leaves the United States •Admitted to a hospital •Income changes •Resources change
Unit 5

For children receiving SSI...

• You may be required to obtain treatment for the child’s disabling condition when medically necessary.
Unit 5

The death of a beneficiary
Social Security Benefits:
• No check is payable for the month of death, even if death occurs on the last day of the month • Checks received for month of death or later must be returned

Supplemental Security Income:
• Check is payable for month of death • Checks that arrive after month of death must be returned
Unit 5

An overpayment is any amount of money received for any period that exceeds the total amount of money that should have been paid.
Unit 5

Unit 6

How to spend a beneficiary’s money
• As a representative payee, you have the responsibility to use benefits received only for the use & benefit of the beneficiary. • Current maintenance needs include:
– – – – – – Food Clothing Medical Care Housing Personal comfort items Reasonably foreseeable needs
Unit 6

• Nursing Homes

Beneficiaries in nursing homes or institutions

Set aside at least $30 a month for the beneficiary’s personal needs or for savings on his or her behalf.

• Institutions
For Social Security (not SSI), part of the funds can be used for the support of the beneficiary’s dependent spouse, child, and/or parent.
Unit 6

Outstanding debts
• If current & foreseeable needs are met, you may use the beneficiary’s funds to satisfy past debts. • You are not required to pay past debts unless it involves:
– Repayment of Social Security or SSI overpayment – An IRS levy for income tax purposes – Garnishment (child support & alimony)
Unit 6

Spending large sums of money
•Large sums of money must be used in the • Your first priority is to best interest of the meet the beneficiary’s beneficiary. current needs for:
– Food – Housing – Medical Care – Other items for personal comfort
Unit 6

Handling large sums of money
If there’s money left over after basic needs are met, money may be spent on:
– Things that improve the beneficiary’s living conditions – Providing better medical care – Training to help beneficiary become more self-sufficient – Major health-related expenses – Recreational activities
Unit 6

Large purchases
• A representative payee can make some of these special purchases for comfort of the beneficiary:
– Home – Home improvements – Furniture – Car

Uncertain about an expenditure? Contact your local Social Security Office.
Unit 6

$2,000 resource limit for SSI
• Example of “resources”are:
– – – – property, stocks, bonds, or bank accounts

• For an individual receiving SSI, savings and other resources are limited to $2,000 • For a couple receiving SSI, the limit is $3,000
Note: Not all resources count toward these limits; check with your local Social Security Office for additional information.
Unit 6

Unit 7

Improper use of benefits
An unwise expenditure of benefits in a manner that isn’t in the best interest of the beneficiary. • Example: A payee takes the beneficiary to the circus instead of buying him/her needed clothes.
Unit 7

Misuse of benefits
Occurs when money is not spent on the beneficiary or saved for future needs • SSA decides if misuse has occurred, and makes a misuse determination.

Unit 7

Misuse of benefits
If misuse is found, SSA may:
• Appoint a new payee, or • Make direct payment to the beneficiary, and • Obtain restitution from the misuser, and • Refer the case to the OIG for possible criminal prosecution SSA will then initiate action to recover misused funds.
Unit 7

Unit 8

Titling for checking and savings accounts
• Checking and savings account titles must show the beneficiary as the owner and that the payee has only a fiduciary (and not personal) interest in the funds. •Two examples of bank account titles:
“(Beneficiary’s name) by (your name), representative payee,”

or
“(Your name), representative payee for (beneficiary’s name).”

•The beneficiary retains ownership but not direct access to the funds. Unit 8

Unit 9

Special rules for collective accounts
• Account separate from organization’s operating account. • If a fee-for-service payee, deduct your fees & move to your operating account • Keep clear records showing amount of each beneficiary’s share • If beneficiary has more than $500, funds should be placed in interest bearing account.
Unit 9

Special rules for collective accounts (cont’d)
• Credit each beneficiary with his/her share of interest • Set aside $30 per person for personal needs • Funds belonging to a beneficiary can only be used for his or her needs • Have account records available if requested by SSA
Unit 9

Titles for collective accounts
Examples of recommended titles for a collective account:
“Sunnydale Nursing Home, representative payee for Social Security beneficiaries”

or
“Sunnydale Patient’s Fund for Social Security beneficiaries”

Unit 9

Unit 10

Dedicated accounts
• The law requires representative payees to maintain a dedicated account at a financial institution for deposit of past due SSI benefits. • Dedicated accounts affect children under 18 who:
– Receive SSI due to disability or blindness – Have a representative payee – Are due past monthly SSI payments
Unit 10

Unit 11

•What records should an organization keep?
– Bank statements, – Invoices, – Receipts, – Leases These documents should be kept for a minimum of 2 years.
Unit 11

Developing an accounting system
• Must show for each beneficiary:
– how much money was received, and – how much money was spent, and – the balance saved for each beneficiary.
Unit 11

Unit 12

Monitoring organizational payees
• Meet to discuss your practices • Review financial records • Speak with beneficiaries

Unit 12

Unit 13

Fee-for-Service
• Organizations authorized to collect a fee from a beneficiary’s Social Security or SSI payment. • Fee is intended to cover expenses for providing payee services.

Unit 13

Current fee amounts
• Effective December 2000, the authorized fee is the lesser of:
– 10% of the monthly benefit amount or $29

• For disabled individuals who have been determined by SSA as having a drug addiction or alcoholism problem, the fee is the lesser of:
– 10% of the monthly benefit amount or $56
Unit 13

Monitoring fee-for-service payees
• Site visits • Accounting reports • Annual certification • Verification of beneficiaries

Unit 13

Monitoring fee-for-service payees
• Review triennially via:
– Face-to-face meeting – Examination of a sample of beneficiary records

• Review organization’s record keeping

Unit 13

Monitoring fee-for-service payees
• Verify expenses with the beneficiary’s service providers • Speak with the beneficiaries

Unit 13

Unit 14

Direct deposit
• Safe • Reliable • Economical • Convenient

Unit 14

Need more information?
• 1-800-772-1213 • http://www.ssa.gov • http://www.ssa/gov/payee

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