Disability Law Colorado is proud to announce a new Protection & Advocacy program. In this new federally created program, Disability Law Colorado will partner with the Social Security Administration (SSA), to help protect the rights of beneficiaries of Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Specifically, we will be investigating issues related to individuals with disabilities who have a Representative Payee to help manage their Social Security or SSI, but that Representative Payee may be taking advantage of the person with a disability and misspending the SSI funds.
The SSA’s Representative Payee Program provides benefit payment management for beneficiaries who need assistance with managing their Social Security or Supplemental Security Income payments. Generally, the SSA looks for family or friends to serve as Payees, but when friends or family members are not able to serve as Payees, the SSA looks for qualified organizations.
The Representative Payees are responsible for keeping records and, when requested, reporting how they spent the benefits received on behalf of a Social Security beneficiary or SSI recipient.
Protection and Advocacy System (P&As)
On April 13, 2018, President Trump signed the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018. This law directs state-designated Protection & Advocacy (P&A) Systems to conduct all periodic onsite reviews of Representative Payees and investigate allegations of Payee misconduct. In addition, the P&A’s will conduct educational visits for new Representative Payees. In 1977, Disability Law Colorado (DLC) was designated by Governor Lamm as the P & A for Colorado, so these investigative mandates will come to the organization.
A review will determine if the Representative Payee has performed the following duties:
- Managed funds so the beneficiaries meet all their financial obligations and basic needs (rent, food, clothing, utilities, medical);
- Accounted for all funds received and spent;
- Saved any unspent funds in an appropriate manner; and
- Complied with Representative Payee accounting and reporting responsibilities.
Information for Beneficiaries, Legal Guardians, and Third Parties
To ensure satisfactory oversight of Social Security and SSI benefits, Disability Law Colorado will conduct a home visit and interview of beneficiaries served by the Representative Payee selected for a review. If applicable, Disability Law Colorado will also conduct an interview with legal guardians or third parties.
Results of Review
If the results of the review find that the Representative Payee has not fulfilled his/her duties, corrective action(s) may be required in order for the Representative Payee to continue to serve. If the review finds that no corrective action is required, the Representative Payee will receive a notice advising that the review is complete.