We issued this report to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) had adequate controls to ensure it paid child beneficiaries’ withheld benefits pending the selection of a representative payee.
SSA appoints representative payees to receive and manage the payments of those beneficiaries who cannot manage or direct the management of their benefits because of their youth or mental and/or physical impairments.
When circumstances change or suggest a representative payee may no longer be suitable, SSA may suspend benefits and initiate a search for a new representative payee. Under certain circumstances, SSA can make direct payments to child beneficiaries age 15 to 17. When a child beneficiary attains age 18, they are presumed to be legally competent adults who no longer require representative payees, unless direct payment is prohibited for other reasons.
We identified 12,027 child beneficiaries whose benefits SSA had withheld pending the selection of a representative payee.