Anyone who receives social security benefits should decide how their money is spent. You might have a representative payee to help you manage that money. Your payee may be a friend, relative or agency. Unfortunately, sometimes representative payees don’t manage your money the way you want them to. For example, maybe your payee bought the wrong things from the grocery store or your phone bill wasn’t paid and it is past due. Maybe your payee tells you there isn’t enough money for what you want, even though you think you have plenty of money. Sometimes this happens when a representative payee makes a mistake. Sometimes it’s when a representative payee is taking money for themselves.
You decide how your benefit money is spent. If you think your representative payee is not spending your money the way you want of if you know somebody whose representative payee is not acting in their beneficiary’s best interest, we are here to help.
Through the Representative Payee program, we help ensure certain social security beneficiaries are protected from financial exploitation and other abuses, and ensure that funds are being used appropriately and in the best interest of the beneficiary.
To report an issue relating to a beneficiary or representative payee please use the “Report an Issue” button.
On April 13, 2018, the President signed into law the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018. This Act requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make grants to each state’s Protection and Advocacy System. As the Protection and Advocacy System for Massachusetts, DLC will use this grant to conduct reviews of representative payees under the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. In these reviews, DLC will ensure that the funds given to each beneficiary are being used appropriately and in the best interest of the beneficiary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, what are the responsibilities of a representative payee?
SSA requires a representative payee to perform the following duties:
- Manage funds so the beneficiary has no unmet needs;
- Account for all funds received and spent;
- Conserve any unspent funds appropriately; and
- Comply with all accounting and reporting responsibilities
The SSA requires representative payees to keep records and, when asked, report how funds are spent on behalf of a beneficiary.
How are representative payees chosen for a review?
A majority of the representative payee reviews will be directly assigned to DLC by SSA. DLC will also select other representative payees to review at its discretion.
What does a review include?
During a representative payee review, the DLC will do the following:
- Interview the individual or organizational representative payee;
- Review the representative payee’s financial records for the requested beneficiary or beneficiaries;
- Conduct a home visit and interview with all included beneficiaries; and
- Interview any legal guardians or third parties, when applicable.
What types of financial documents will DLC review?
DLC will review a wide range of financial documents, including a beneficiary budget and ledger, individual bank statements, receipts of income, expense documentation, etc. For a more complete list of financial documents, please visit the SSA Representative Payee program webpage.
What are the results of the review?
If DLC has concerns that the representative payee is not fulfilling its duties, corrective action may be required. If corrective action is needed, either DLC or the SSA will contact the representative payee to explain the findings and begin the corrective action. If the review finds no corrective action is needed, the representative payee will receive notice that the review is complete
What if I have concerns about my representative payee?
If you have concerns about your representative payee, you can contact DLC at (617) 723-8455 to learn more about your legal rights as a beneficiary. You can also visit the SSA webpage “When a Payee Manages Your Money”.