SSA issues final rules prohibiting persons with certain criminal convictions from serving as representative payees
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Thursday, March 21, 2019

SSA issues final rules prohibiting persons with certain criminal convictions from serving as representative payees

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The SSA is finalizing its proposed regulations on conducting background checks to prohibit persons convicted of certain crimes from serving as representative payees under the Social Security Act, as required by the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018. These final rules will become effective on March 18, 2019.

On April 13, 2018, the President signed into law the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018. Section 202 of the law codifies the SSA’s current policy to conduct criminal background checks on representative payee applicants and to prohibit the selection of certain representative payee applicants who have a felony conviction of committing, attempting, or conspiring to commit certain crimes. In addition, the new law requires that the SSA conduct criminal background checks on all currently serving representative payees who do not meet one of the exceptions set out in the law, and continue to do so at least once every five years.

On October 11, 2018, the SSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register. In the NPRM, the SSA proposed to codify the requirements of section 202 to conduct background checks on representative payee applicants and to prohibit those representative payee applicants and representative payees with the statutorily enumerated felony convictions from serving as representative payees. The agency also proposed to implement the requirement that it conduct criminal background checks on all currently serving representative payees who do not meet one of the exceptions established in the law, and that it will continue to do so at least once every five years. The SSA is adopting the proposed changes as final rules without revision. See, also, the story in Report Letter 1212, dated October 30, 2018.

For further information, contact Kevin Salamone, Office of Income Security Programs, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 966-0854. See 84 Fed. Reg. 4323, February 15, 2019.

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