WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.R. 4547, The Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018.
Below are Chairman Brady’s remarks as delivered. To watch the video, please click here.
“Today, we have an opportunity to take action on bipartisan legislation to help those receiving Social Security.
“This bill led by Congressmen Sam Johnson and John Larson of Connecticut – the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee – takes actions to improve the representative payee program.
“Today, when someone on Social Security isn’t able to manage their own benefits, the Social Security Administration will assign them what’s called a representative payee.
“These are individuals or organizations that have a vital responsibility of helping some of our most vulnerable people on Social Security – children, seniors, and folks with disabilities.
“The payee receives benefits on behalf of these Americans, and they are required to use the money to fulfill those needs.
“Here’s the problem – the representative payee program just isn’t working the way it should.
“As the Ways and Means Committee has learned from the work of our Social Security Subcommittee, the Social Security Administration has serious challenges knowing when someone needs help managing their benefits. And also in making sure that those who provide that help are doing a good job.
“This puts some of our most vulnerable receivers of Social Security at a risk – and that’s completely unacceptable.
“We have a responsibility to fix it. That’s why this legislation is so important.
“With this bipartisan bill, we can make the representative payee program more effective and more accountable for the Americans who depend on it.
“The bill strengthens oversight.
“It increases protections for those on Social Security.
“It reduces burdens on families.
“And it puts greater focus on the needs of Social Security families, giving Americans more of a say in selecting the payee of their choice – and, more important, ensuring they have a payee they can trust.
“Although our Committee did not mark up this bill, we have held multiple Subcommittee hearings on the issue and meetings among Members from both sides of the aisle. We have also heard from stakeholders about the challenges they face.
“This bill is a long time coming and is going to make important, much-needed changes to the representative payee program.
“To further solidify the Committee’s understanding and our legislative intent, I am sending the Acting Commissioner of Social Security a letter signed by myself and Congressmen Richard Neal, Sam Johnson, and John Larson. This letter transmits a technical explanation of the bill.
“We have asked the Acting Commissioner to make the letter and technical explanation available on the agency’s website. And I ask unanimous consent to insert this letter into the record.
“I want to thank all of these Members for their hard work and leadership on this important issue. In particular, I want to express my gratitude to Chairman Johnson, to Ranking Member Larson, for your dedication to improving the representative payee program.
“This is a very important bill that has strong bipartisan support. I urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting its passage.”