Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act (H.R. 4547) Becomes Law
WASHINGTON – Legislation passed by the U.S. Senate will increase oversight and protection for some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. The bill, called the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act (H.R. 4547), will increase independent oversight of the Social Security Administration’s Representative Payee Program. President Trump signed this legistration into law on April 6, 2018.
A representative payee is a person who acts as the receiver of Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income for a person who is not fully capable of managing their own benefits. Unfortunately, multiple investigations have uncovered representative payees who have stolen or misused funds, exploited, neglected, and even abused the people with disabilities they were supposed to be helping.
“For too long dishonest representative payees have exploited and abused people with disabilities without fear of being discovered,” said the National Disability Rights Network’s (NDRN) Executive Director Curt Decker. “That stops today. We are thrilled to see that Congress has acted to protect the more than eight million Americans who currently have representative payees.”
H.R. 4547 specifically authorizes the nation’s Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system to monitor and investigate how representative payees are administering Social Security funds. P&As are federally mandated organizations that provide legal and other advocacy services to people with disabilities in every U.S. state and territory.
“Congress has recognized the critical role P&As have played for 40 years in keeping our nation’s most vulnerable citizens safe from abuse and neglect in institutions and the community,” continued Decker. “The P&As have the experience, capacity and determination to provide this needed oversight of the representative payee program.”