ACUS report informs Social Security Administration (SSA) recommendation to improve Representative Payee (Rep Payee) program

Contact: Harry M. Seidman
Phone: 202. 480. 2085


ACUS report informs Social Security Administration (SSA) recommendation to improve Representative Payee (Rep Payee) program

Yesterday, the Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB) released a report to improve the Social Security Administration’s representative payee (rep payee) program. This report draws from a 2014 study that ACUS completed at the request of the Social Security Administration (SSA) regarding state guardianship laws and practices, to assist in strengthening the SSA’s rep payee program, which serves more than eight million vulnerable people.

In carrying out this study, ACUS was tasked with conducting:

  • legal research to catalog the laws of guardianship selection and monitoring in all 50 states;
  • a survey to capture state court guardianship practices and procedures; and
  • interviews with guardianship and foster care agencies to evaluate their practices and to identify the challenges they face.

The SSAB report found that it is difficult for guardians to obtain information from local SSA field offices due to the absence of a national policy, specifically regarding when and how to apply for benefits.

Matthew Lee Wiener, ACUS Vice Chairman and Executive Director, stressed the need for better information sharing between the SSA and state court systems to allow both to carry out their functions and objectives – a collaboration that would require congressional action.

In addition to enhanced information sharing between government agencies and state courts, the survey results in ACUS’s study also identified barriers among stakeholders due to the decentralized recordkeeping practices of courts, state agencies and private organizations. For example, there is no national database containing information to protect incapacitated persons, including guardian and rep payee status, or disciplinary records of guardians. To view the complete Social Security Advisory Board report, please visit:  To view the 2014 ACUS study on state guardianship laws and court practices, please visit:

The Administrative Conference of the United States is an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process through consensus-driven applied research and providing nonpartisan expert advice and recommendations for federal agency procedures. Its membership is composed of senior federal officials, academics, and other experts from the private sector.

Learn more about ACUS at

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