By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff
The SSA published final rules in the Federal Register on February 15, 2019 (83 Fed. Reg. 4323; see ¶15,827C), that prohibit persons with certain criminal convictions from serving as representative payees. Those rules codified its responsibilities under the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018, which prohibits the selection of certain representative payee applicants who have a specified felony conviction of committing, attempting, or conspiring to commit certain crimes. The law also requires the SSA to review each individual currently serving as a representative payee (who does not meet one of the exceptions set out in the law) to determine whether the individual has been convicted of a specified crime, and continue to do so at least once every five years. The final rules inadvertently included the words “or organization” in §§ 404.2026, 408.626, and 416.626. They also inadvertently omitted the word “individual” from §§ 404.2024(a)(10) and 416.624(a)(10).
Although a representative payee may be an organization such as a social service agency, or an individual such as a parent, relative, or friend of the beneficiary, the final rules concerning a criminal background check and criminal history apply only to individuals applying to serve as representative payees and individuals currently serving as representative payees. Accordingly, the corrections remove the words “or organization” from the affected sections and clarify the regulations. They also clarify in §§ 404.2024(a)(10) and 416.624(a)(10) that the criminal background check requirement applies to individual representative payee applicants. The corrections are effective October 25, 2019, and applicable beginning March 18, 2019.
For further information, contact Kevin Salamone, Office of Income Security Programs, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-640, (410) 966-0854. See 84 Fed. Reg. 57319, October 25, 2019.
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