We issued this report to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) had adequate controls to ensure it did not make payments to representative payees who were not in its electronic representative payee system (eRPS) as required.
In April 2016, SSA implemented eRPS and populated it with information from its legacy payee system (which it established in 1992). SSA employees use eRPS to take and process representative payee applications and make representative payee determinations.
An individual’s Social Security number (SSN) is required to establish a representative payee in eRPS, and SSA’s automated systems process the information and update the Master Beneficiary (MBR) or Supplemental Security Records (SSR). However, SSA policy allows certain individuals who do not have an SSN to serve as representative payees. This includes undocumented noncitizens who have minor children and applicants who reside outside the United States.
We identified 22,106 beneficiaries who, according to the MBR or SSR, had a representative payee. However, according to eRPS, there was no representative payee information for these beneficiaries.