Financial Independence: Directing the Management of One’s Social Security Benefits

National Disability Forum

A Forum for All Interested Disability Stakeholders


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST

1100 New York Avenue, NW

Suite 200 East

Washington, DC 20005


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Background:

The Social Security Administration presumes, absent evidence to the contrary, that legally competent adult beneficiaries are capable of managing, or directing someone else to manage, their benefits. If there is evidence that the person may be incapable, we are responsible for deciding if beneficiaries can be paid directly or require a representative payee. In an effort to provide improved instructions to the employees who make these decisions, we are seeking feedback on the topic of how to identify individuals who can direct the management of their benefits.


Please see the issues below for comment

1. How should SSA assess a beneficiary’s ability to direct the management of his or her benefits?

2. Should SSA obtain specific types of evidence to assess a beneficiary’s ability to direct the management of his or her benefits? If so, what type(s)?

3. Are there certain questions SSA should ask beneficiaries in order to determine their ability to direct the management of benefits?

4. Should SSA consider a beneficiary’s disability or age when making a decision about his or her ability to direct the management of benefits?

5. Are there indicators that a beneficiary is not able to direct the management of his or her benefits? If so, please explain.

6. Should the existence of a supporter affect SSA’s determination of a beneficiary’s ability to direct the management of his or her benefits? If so, how?

Financial Independence: Directing the Management of One’s Social Security Benefits

How should we assess a beneficiary’s ability

Processes need to be in place prior to any assessments. All of the assessment specific questions have multiple layers of consequences, many of which potentially create more problems. To prove ability is quite different than proving inability. The questions posed here seem aimed at proving ability to manage your own money. If neighbors, friends or citizens could report potential financial abuse, then the questions ...more »

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Financial Independence: Directing the Management of One’s Social Security Benefits

Comments from National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)

1. How should SSA assess a beneficiary’s ability to direct the management of his or her benefits? SSA should use a person-centered approach to assess a beneficiary’s ability to manage his or her own benefits, which includes an individual interview. An individual interview would allow beneficiaries the opportunity to explain how they would manage their own benefits and/or demonstrate how they are managing any existing ...more »

Submitted by (@zachary.martin)

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Financial Independence: Directing the Management of One’s Social Security Benefits

Root Cause and Methodology of Representative Payee Program

“I’m on Social Security disability insurance...and I’m also very thankful for it.” How fortunate we are to be U.S. citizens, to work, and when in need -- have The Social Security Administration help us during those “interesting and rough” times of life. The National Disability Forum is a great vehicle to hear from disability stakeholders, whose lives are encompassed with daily “disability” living. The Representative ...more »

Submitted by (@jaritad)

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Financial Independence: Directing the Management of One’s Social Security Benefits

Cross Reference Event Documentation

There are several indicators in other governmental disciplines that would be useful indicators of a persons ability/inability to direct/manage their own benefits. Examples of such documentation or patterns of utilization include: criminal charges and convictions, small claims court intervention, Involuntary civil commitments (mental health and substance), Dependent Adult Abuse Findings/Investigations, POA Health, Guardianship ...more »

Submitted by (@rwoodmhds1)

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Financial Independence: Directing the Management of One’s Social Security Benefits

Comments from Colorado Cross Disability Coalition

1.How should SSA assess a beneficiary’s ability to direct the management of his or her benefits? First of all, SSA should assume competency unless given evidence to the contrary. If someone makes a mistake or has some deficits it would be good if SSA could refer the beneficiary to their local Independent Living Center to learn money management, if possible. We need to stop having an all or nothing mentality and allow ...more »

Submitted by (@jreiskin)

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Financial Independence: Directing the Management of One’s Social Security Benefits

New Catwgory

I think Social Security needs a category between total independence and rep

Payee. I feel they should have a transitional rep payee. I am currently rep. Payee for my son. However monthly I work with him on budgeting bill paying, checkbook and balancing his statement with the goal that he will eventually handle his own finances.

Submitted by (@cjfreelancewriter)

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Financial Independence: Directing the Management of One’s Social Security Benefits

My plan for improving the process for payeeship

How should SSA assess a beneficiary’s ability to direct the management of his or her benefits? In order to make a clear decision on whether or not a person is capable of being their own payee I would suggest asking the person first. Allow them an opportunity to explain why they are capable of being their own payee. Allow them to provide documentation to support why they should be their own payee. Next create a consent ...more »

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Financial Independence: Directing the Management of One’s Social Security Benefits

Social Security Disability Benefit Determination

I was born with one eye & am life-long HOH with no success with hearing aids. As I grew older, my hearing loss worsened. However, my one eye did the work of both my vision & hearing through reading lips as a lifelong disability. I obtained employment & worked steadily until mid-30’s; most of my SS contributions occurred during this time. I’m highly educated with paralegal background, but was unable to sustain lengthy ...more »

Submitted by (@marcia.rector)

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