Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma announced its decision to grant the Social Security Administration (SSA) partial relief from the 1984 Jordan v. Schweiker decision requiring all representative payees to submit an annual accounting form. This decision allows the SSA to move forward implementing a key provision of the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act.
Commenting on this decision, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, said:
“Last month, President Trump signed into law Ranking Member Larson’s and my bill that improves Social Security’s representative payee program in order to better protect beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own benefits. The District Court’s decision yesterday frees Social Security to implement our commonsense bill that would relieve families from burdensome reporting requirements. I thank Social Security and the Department of Justice for moving quickly to request this relief.”
Subcommittee Ranking Member John Larson (D-CT) added:
“I am pleased that the Court has affirmed the intent of our bipartisan legislation, which strengthened Social Security’s Representative Payee program for vulnerable beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own funds. The ruling allows SSA to fully implement the new law, which lifted a burden on families caring for their children and refocused SSA’s resources on those beneficiaries most at risk for exploitation, including by supporting protection & advocacy groups like Disability Rights Connecticut that exist in every state. I’d like to thank Chairman Johnson for his tireless efforts on behalf of the country’s vulnerable beneficiaries.”
As a result of the 1984 Jordan v. Schweiker decision, all representative payees (other than state mental hospitals) were required to file with the SSA an annual accounting of the use of beneficiaries’ funds. This requirement applied to parents who are the payee for their child and are living in the same household, and individuals who are the payee for their spouse.
The SSA’s payee oversight process has changed significantly since the court first imposed this requirement. In recognition of this change, the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act (Public Law 115-165), which was signed into law on April 13, 2018, eliminated the requirement to file the annual accounting form for representative payees who are parents living with their children or who are spouses.
However, since the Jordan decision was still in place, the SSA was not able to implement this change. The court’s recent decision means that the SSA can now move forward with implementing this provision of the new law.