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A representative payee in Pennsylvania is someone who receives Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income for a person who cannot manage his or her own benefits. A representative payee must use the payments to support the beneficiary. It is always for the recipient’s benefit. The Social Security Administration may decide that a person needs a representative payee due to mental health issues, Alzheimer’s or any condition that compromises a person’s mental faculties.

When a person has control over another person’s finances and benefits, he or she is in a position of power. To avoid exploitation, there has to be monitoring.

According to Disability Rights Pennsylvania, an SSDI representative payee will be a family member, caretaker or someone close to the person in question. It needs to be someone who sees the recipient often, has a close relationship and will know his or her needs. The Network Protection and Advocacy agencies monitor representative payees and check how he or she administers the funds.

The purpose for the monitoring is to protect the beneficiaries. Those who cannot manage their own SSDI benefits are often vulnerable. In the wrong hands, a person can take advantage of the beneficiary. Government investigations in the past found that representative payees sometimes committed theft, neglected or exploited the person with disabilities.

The Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017 provided an increase of oversight to the payee program. This program and oversight provides advocates to SSDI beneficiaries if there is any abuse found.

None of the above information is to be used as legal advice. It is for educational uses only.