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H.R. 4547: Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017
On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass, as Amended in the House

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4547 in the House. This vote was taken under a House procedure called “suspension of the rules” which is typically used to pass non-controversial bills. Votes under suspension require a 2/3rds majority. A failed vote under suspension can be taken again.

H.R. 4547 amends titles II, VIII, and XVI of the Social Security Act to improve and strengthen the representative payment program. Specifically, the bill

  • Strengthens oversight by increasing the number of performance reviews of payees, requiring additional types of reviews, and improving the effectiveness of the reviews by requiring the Protection and Advocacy system of each state to conduct the reviews, on behalf of the Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • Reduces the burden on families by eliminating the requirement to file an annual payee accounting form for parents who live with their children and for spouses
  • Enhances personal control by allowing beneficiaries to designate their preferred payee in advance of actually needing one, and ensures improved selection of payees by requiring the SSA to assess the appropriateness of the preference list used to select payees
  • Improves beneficiary protections by increasing information sharing between the SSA and child welfare agencies, and by directing the SSA to study how better to coordinate with Adult Protective Services agencies and with state guardianship courts
  • Limits overpayment liability for children in the child welfare system
  • Ensures that no beneficiary has a barred payee by codifying the ban on individuals with certain criminal convictions from serving as payees and prohibiting individuals who have payees from serving as payees for others.

In 1939, Congress first authorized the SSA to make benefit payments to another person or organization, called a representative payee – in cases where a beneficiary is not capable of managing their own benefits. Payees can be parents, other individuals, or organizations. The SSA’s representative payee program helps approximately 8 million Social Security beneficiaries manage their benefits.

The SSA is responsible for assessing whether an individual needs a representative payee, screening and selecting payees, and providing oversight of those serving as payees. Congress last made changes to the program in 2004 through the Social Security Protection Act of 2004, which increased oversight of representative payees, tightened screening requirements for payee applicants, and required Social Security to reissue benefits misused by a payee in certain cases.

The Government Accountability Office, the SSA Office of Inspector General, the National Academy of Sciences, the Social Security Advisory Board, and outside stakeholders continue to raise concerns about the SSA’s administration of the representative payee program.

Source: Republican Policy Committee


All Votes R D
Yea 92%
Nay 0%
Not Voting 8%

Passed. 2/3 Required. Feb 5, 2018 at 6:55 p.m. ET. Source:

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