Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, May 10, 2013

Social Security Representative Payee Misuse

Elderly peopleThere is a problem of benefit misuse within the Social Security representative payee system. While the "Social Security “representative payee” system protects beneficiaries who have cognitive impairments,... the appointment of the home or home administrator as representative payee creates conflicts of interest that adversely affect the beneficiary." This could leave these vulnerable members of society open to misuse by the representative payee. Unfortunately,  the Social Security Administration does not have resources to detect all instances of misconduct; therefore, abuse often goes unnoticed. One potential solution is to create an alternative system, known as a “family representative” program. In this program, a relative or friend would monitor the representative payee appointment. "The family representative’s access to information regarding the payee’s performance would facilitate greater detection and reporting of benefit misuse to the Social Security Administration than under the current system."

See Reid K. Weisbord, Social Security Representative Payee Misuse, 117 Penn St. L. Rev. 1257 (2013).

Special thanks to Katherine Pearson (Professor of Law, Penn State University - The Dickinson School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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