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FORUM ARCHIVE: Representative Payees: Opportunities to Improve Service Delivery

September 24, 2020

SUMMARY: On Thursday, September 24, the Social Security Advisory Board held a virtual policy forum entitled Representative Payees: Opportunities to Improve Service Delivery. The forum showcased an independent, Board-commissioned study by researchers from the Virginia Tech Center on Gerontology and the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging. Following the report presentation, the forum included three panels covering capability determinations, the selection process, training, oversight, and the need for ongoing research and evaluation. The final panel also discussed the public service implications of a more individualized, supported decision-making model, and how to get there.

 

Key Documents

Forum Agenda

9:45 am  Webinar Opening

10:00 am  Opening Remarks

Kim Hildred, Chair, Social Security Advisory Board

10:10 am  Presentation of Findings: “Selection Processes for SSA Payees of Adults”

The independent, Board-commissioned researchers will present their findings on the selection process for the appointment of payees, capability determinations, and the need for enhanced training.

Panelists:
Laura P. Sands, Professor of Human Development and Family Science, Virginia Tech
Pamela B. Teaster, Director, Virginia Tech Center for Gerontology; Professor of Human Development and Family Science, Virginia Tech
Erica F. Wood, Assistant Director (retired), American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging

Presentation Slides

Discussant:
Henry J. Aaron, Member, Social Security Advisory Board

11:00 am  Initial Steps: Determining Financial Capability and Selecting the Best Payee

Panelists will discuss variation in the current process for determining capability and selecting payees, how the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (Protections Act) changed it, how COVID has affected it, and where it differs from other substitute decision-maker programs. Panelists will also discuss where additional study is needed and what types of data the agency should collect if it’s not already doing so.

Moderator:
Bob Joondeph, Member, Social Security Advisory Board

Panelists:
Michael Collins, Faculty Director, UW-Madison Center for Financial Security, and Fetzer Family Chair on Consumer and Personal Finance, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Elizabeth H. Curda, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, Government Accountability Office
Kate Lang, Senior Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging
Linda Rutland, Assistant Director, Pension and Fiduciary Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs
Laura P. Sands, Virginia Tech
Pamela B. Teaster, Virginia Tech
Erica F. Wood, American Bar Association (retired)

Technical experts:
Christopher Detzler, Executive Officer, National Council of Social Security Management Associations; District Manager, Vancouver, Washington Field Office, Social Security Administration.
David Lescarini, President, National Council of Social Security Management Associations; District Manager, McMinnville, Tennessee Field Office, Social Security Administration

12:00 pm   Lunch Break

12:30 pm Keynote Speech

The Honorable Kristin Booth Glen, Project Director, Supported Decision-Making New York and Dean Emerita, City University of New York School of Law will discuss supported decision-making, human rights, and legal capacity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Presentation Slides

1:00 pm  Program Oversight: Monitoring Payees and Reevaluating Agency Payee Decisions

The independent researchers will briefly provide findings on the ongoing agency evaluation of payee decisions, including capability and payee selection. Panelists will discuss the oversight process at Social Security: how the Protections Act changed it, how COVID has affected it, and whether it incorporates similar efforts from other substitute decision-maker programs. Panelists will also discuss where opportunities exist to collect new data or share information with other entities.

Moderator:
Henry J. Aaron , Member, Social Security Advisory Board

Panelists:
Reeve T. Bull, Research Director, Administrative Conference of the United States
Curtis Decker, Executive Director, National Disability Rights Network
Ed Doonan, Chairman of the Board, National Association of Organizational Representative Payees; Government Affairs Liaison, Benefits Management Corporation
Kate Lang, Justice in Aging
Kathryn Larin, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, Government Accountability Office

Technical Experts:
Christopher Detzler, National Council of Social Security Management Associations
David Lescarini, National Council of Social Security Management Associations

Discussants:
Pamela B. Teaster, Virginia Tech
Erica F. Wood, American Bar Association (retired)

2:30 pm  Break

2:45 pm  Envisioning the Future: Payees in a Supported Decision- Making Model

Panelists will address whether continuing to focus on improving Social Security’s program is the right approach or whether the government should move into more of an integrated supported decision-making model, which is currently being tested in different states and other countries.

Moderator:
Bob Joondeph, Member, Social Security Advisory Board

Panelists:
Kenneth S. Apfel, Professor of the Practice, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; former Commissioner of Social Security, Social Security Administration
The Honorable Kristin Booth Glen, Supported Decision-Making New York; City University of New York School of Law
Louis D. Enoff, former Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Social Security Administration (retired)
Ari Ne’eman, PhD Candidate in Health Policy, Harvard University
Morgan K. Whitlatch, Legal Director, Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities; Lead Project Manager, National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making
Hilary Dalin, Director, Office of Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services, Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services

Technical Experts:
Christopher Detzler, National Council of Social Security Management Associations
David Lescarini, National Council of Social Security Management Associations

Discussants:
Henry J. Aaron, Member, Social Security Advisory Board
Pamela B. Teaster, Virginia Tech
Erica F. Wood, American Bar Association (retired)

4:15 pm Closing Remarks

Kim Hildred, Chair, Social Security Advisory Board

4:30 pm Webinar Conclusion

 

 

Previous Board Work on Representative Payees

Issue Brief: Recent Developments in the Social Security Administration’s Representative Payee Program, June 2019

This brief summarizes recent developments in Social Security’s representative payee program, including the passage of the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018, concerns addressed at the Board’s September 2018 policy forum, the Board’s January 2019 Federal Register Comment, and ongoing Board work. Read More→

Federal Register Comment on SSA’s Representative Payee Selection and Replacement Policies, January 2019

This Comment is provided in reference to: Notice and Request for Comments on “Review and Reassessment of the SSA’s Representative Payee Selection and Replacement Policies, 83 Fed. Reg. 64422 (December 14, 2018), Docket No. SSA-2018-0048. Read More→

Public Forum: Moving Forward – Implementing Changes in the Representative Payee Program, September 7, 2018

This Social Security Advisory Board forum brought policymakers, practitioners, and researchers together for a day-long forum to explore how the Social Security Administration can study and improve the representative payee selection process. This forum continued SSAB’s longstanding effort to support and improve a vital government program serving approximately eight million people who need assistance in managing benefits provided by the SSA. Read More→

Report: Improving Social Security’s Representative Payee Program, January 2018

This paper summarizes the board’s recommendations for both immediate changes by SSA and a plan for broader government-wide action. The board found broad interest in improving SSA’s rep payee program and reached bipartisan agreement on how to do so. Read More→

Representative Payee Program, March 27, 2017

The Social Security Advisory Board hosted a public forum to discuss the Social Security Administration’s representative payee program.  The day’s discussion included the process of determining capacity, best practices, collaborative efforts, new approaches from the front lines, necessary oversight, program evaluation, and preparing for the future. Read More→

Issue Brief: Representative Payees: A Call to Action, March 2016

The Social Security Advisory Board calls for Congress, the Social Security Administration (SSA), and interested stakeholders to reexamine the representative payee (“payee”) program. SSA’s procedures for appointing, selecting, training, and monitoring payees should be reviewed, and a plan should be developed for identifying beneficiaries with declining financial capability. Read More→

SSI Statement, August 2016

This paper looks at SSA’s statutory authority, the selection process for rep payees and the different responsibilities of rep payees in SSI and in SSA’s other programs. It also provides an overview of the make-up of the current SSI rep payee program for adult beneficiaries. Although there are troubling issues in the SSI children’s program, touched on in the 2014 SSI statement, this paper focuses on adult beneficiaries. Finally, this report explores a growing movement to replace programs that “care for” individuals with those that tailor support on a case-by-case basis and help beneficiaries retain as much autonomy as possible. Read More→

SSI Statement, August 2014

A major section of the Board’s 2014 SSI Statement addresses the role of representative payees for child SSI recipients in foster care and the process in which those rep payees are appointed. Read More→

Issue Brief: Disability Programs in the 21st Century-The Representative Payee Program, September 2010

In this Issue Brief, we examine ways in which SSA can improve its management of the Representative Payee Program. For more than 70 years, the Social Security Administration has been issuing checks to representative payees who manage the money for beneficiaries who are not able to manage their own benefits. More than five million Old-age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance beneficiaries and nearly three million Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries have payees. SSA has taken steps to deal with the risk that payees will use the benefits for their own purposes. Read More→

SSI Statement, May 2002

One section of the Board’s 2002 SSI Statement focuses on accountability of representative payees. Read More→