Monday, January 28, 2013
In June, U.S. Senator Bob Casey started a pilot program designed to prevent criminals from becoming managers of a person's Social Security benefits. The original program included Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. He reports that the program has successfully screened out dozens of people convicted of fraud and violence from becoming representative payees. Through January 23, 100 people were rejected from becoming representative payees.
Representative payees receive benefits on behalf of people who cannot manage the funds themselves. Senator Casey would like to expand the initiative and require more vigilant background checks to be performed on people who want to be representative payees. In a letter to Social Security Commissioner, Casey asked the federal agency to provide him with more information on goals, methods and a timeline for a revamped background check system.
SSA spokesman Mark Hinkle has previously identified as stumbling blocks the agency's lack of access to government databases with criminal background information and a lack of staff to perform the checks. In November, 2011, Casey introduced legislation that would give the agency more access. Congress did not act on the bill last session, but Casey plans to reintroduce it.
See Kathy Matheson, US Sen. From Pa.: Expand Social Security Screening, Seattlepi, Jan. 27, 2013.