Social Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently issued a report on the agency’s efforts to police organizational and volume representative payees. Representative payees handle funds for claimants who are judged to be incapable of handling funds. The report talks about abuses by some of these larger rep payees.

Social Security does not always obtain reimbursement from abusive rep payees. The agency may also allow a rep payee who has misused funds to continue to serve in their capacity as a rep payee. This may appropriate if the misuse was minor and/or unintentional. The agency is supposed to reimburse claimants who are the victims of rep payee abuse but in my experience, claimants are not receiving this relief.

Representative payees have always been and will always be a problem area for Social Security, according to blogger Charles Hall.  It’s difficult to find people to serve in this capacity and SSA has limited capacity to address the issues.

 

A new article in the New York Times suggests that the Social Security system favors the wealthy, primarily because they outlive folks with less income.  Social Security benefits are premised on American lifespan predictions which are now known to vary based on income inequality.

You can read the full article here:

 

The AC now has discretion over whether to return evidence submitted in connection with appeals filed after an unsuccessful hearing decision.  In the past, the AC has typically returned the evidence once it was copied for the appeal file.  Now, the AC will consider who submitted the evidence, by what means, whether the claimant is represented and whether the claimant otherwise has access to the information.  For instance, evidence submitted electronically will likely not be returned as it is likely the claimant has access to a copy of it.

Some evidence will still be returned, for example, an originally or certified copy of marriage or birth.

The sub-regulatory guidance is found at HALLES I-3-5-20.

 

Many people who need to do business with Social Security are finding an awakening of sorts in how easy it is to use the online services.  SSA continually expands the online services to reflect changing customer needs.

Online services are convenient and secure, and allow you to conduct much of your business with us from the comfort of your home or office.

For instance, you can use the website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov to apply for retirement, spouse’s, or disability benefits online. You can also apply for Medicare and “Extra Help” with your Medicare prescription drug costs on our website. The site also has online benefit planners to help you estimate your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits.

You can open a free personal online “my Social Security” account, where you can keep track of your annual earnings and verify them.

Why is that important? Because your future benefits are based on your annual earnings.

With your account, you can also get an estimate of your future benefits if you are still working; or, if you currently receive benefits, you can use your account to manage your benefits, and get an instant letter with proof of your benefits. You can also request a Medicare card replacement.

 

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