When a Missourian is approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, there are times when the person is not capable of handling his or her own affairs. This is when there will be a representative payee assigned to oversee the person’s benefits. However, this has been a problem for some as there are times when the representative payee will not use the benefits for the good of the recipient. The idea of Social Security Disability benefits for illness is to care for the person. The Social Security Administration, tasked with ensuring these people are protected, now has a new law to help toward that end.

A new law has been signed by President Donald J. Trump that will take steps to assure that those receiving SSD benefits are better protected, if they have a representative payee. The law, known as the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018, modernizes the way representative payees go about their duties. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will make benefits payments to someone other than the recipient, if the recipient cannot do it for him or herself. The last time changes were made was in 2004. The program needed an update for several reasons, including the possibility that the payees were not upholding their duties.

Reviews will be conducted of representative payees. There will extra layers of reviews as well. No longer will it be necessary for representative payees who are also parents of the person for whom they are getting the benefits to fill out accounting forms. The recipient will now have the right to designate preferred payees prior to one being assigned. The SSA will examine the list, determine if it is appropriate and make its decision with that input from the recipient. Those who have certain criminal convictions in their past will not be allowed to be a representative payee.

As this new law shows, there are many aspects to the Social Security disability process that can be confusing and difficult to manage. A representative payee is put in place for the protection of the recipient, but if there are issues, it is a positive that there will be extra protective layers in place. Of course, people who are seeking SSD benefits or are already getting them should have legal advice regarding the entire process. A law firm that is experienced in all areas of Social Security disability can help.

Source: Financial Regulation News, “Bill to modernize social securities’ representative payee program signed into law,” Dave Kovaleski, April 17, 2018