Congressman Dennis Ross | In The News
Washington Update | February 05, 2018 Click here if you have trouble viewing this email
Congressman Dennis Ross
Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 05, 2018
J.P. Freire 202-225-0782

Dennis A. Ross Votes to Strengthen Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries

Washington - U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL-15), Chief Deputy Majority Whip, voted to protect Social Security for millions of Americans today by supporting the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017. The bill strengthens oversight and personal control of a program that handles how Social Security payments are made to those who are not capable of managing their own benefits, such as an adult or child with dementia.

“Florida’s Social Security beneficiaries need to know that this program is being run with their best interests at heart,” said Rep. Ross. “This bill reduces the burden on families, enhances oversight, and prevents those with certain criminal convictions from serving as payees. We must prevent those who are vulnerable, including 4 million children nationwide, from being exploited.”

Background: In 1939, Congress first authorized the Social Security Administration to make benefit payments to another person or organization – called a representative payee – in cases where a beneficiary is not capable of managing their own benefits, such as a child or an adult with dementia. Payees can be parents, other individuals, or organizations. The SSA is responsible for assessing whether an individual needs a representative payee, screening and selecting payees, and providing oversight of those serving as payees.

The Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017:

  • Strengthens oversight by increasing the number of performance reviews of payees, requiring additional types of reviews, and improving the effectiveness of the reviews by requiring the Protection and Advocacy system of each state to conduct the reviews, on behalf of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
  • Reduces the burden on families by eliminating the requirement to file an annual payee accounting form for parents who live with their children and for spouses.
  • Enhances personal control by allowing beneficiaries to designate their preferred payee in advance of actually needing one; and ensures improved selection of payees by requiring the SSA to assess the appropriateness of the preference list used to select payees.
  • Improves beneficiary protections by increasing information sharing between the SSA and child welfare agencies, and by directing the SSA to study how better to coordinate with Adult Protective Services agencies and with state guardianship courts.
  • Limits overpayment liability for children in the child welfare system.
  • Ensures that no beneficiary has a barred payee by codifying the ban on individuals with certain criminal convictions from serving as payees and prohibiting individuals who have payees from serving as payees for others.

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