Agency Actions Concerning Misuse of Benefits by Organizational and Volume Representative Payees

Date: 
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Management Issue: 
Report Number: 
A-13-12-21247
Report Type: 
Audit Report
Office Affiliation: 

We issued this report to review Agency actions concerning misuse of benefit payments by organizational and volume individual representative payees.

Some individuals are not able to manage or direct the management of their benefit payments because of their youth or a mental or physical condition. For such beneficiaries, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will select an individual or an organization to serve as payee to receive and manage payments on a beneficiary’s behalf.

The Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA) defines benefit misuse and identifies actions SSA should take regarding benefit misuse by certain representative payees. To protect the beneficiary’s best interests, SSA examines allegations of misuse, determines the facts, and makes a formal determination of whether misuse occurred.

Once misuse is determined, SSPA directs SSA to reissue misused benefits to the beneficiary and recover the misused benefits from the payee found to have misused benefits.

SSA policy also requires that staff refer misuse to the Office of the Inspector General and document the payee’s suitability to continue serving as payee.