As an Organizational Representative Payee, Neighborhood Services plays a vital role in serving beneficiaries of Social Security. Case Managers decide how to spend benefits to help create a stable living environment for the beneficiary and ensure that the basic current needs of food, shelter, clothing, and medical care are met.
Also, to the extent possible, Case Managers will:
- Help motivate a beneficiary to work toward more independent living;
- Support a beneficiary in their therapy and rehabilitation; and
- Encourage the beneficiary to improve their relationship with family members.
At least once per year, Case Managers are responsible for submitting a report on how benefits were used or saved . Therefore, Case Managers must keep records of deposits and expenses (receipts/invoices) for each beneficiary you serve.
- Be aware of the beneficiary’s current day-to-day needs (i.e., food, clothing, shelter, medical expenses and personal items);
- Use his or her payments to meet the beneficiary’s needs;
- Conserve any money left over, after meeting the beneficiary’s current needs, in a checking or savings account (preferably interest-bearing), U.S. savings bonds, or other appropriate investment(s) that is titled in a way that clearly establishes the beneficiary’s ownership;
- Plan to spend wisely, or conserve, in the best interests of the beneficiary, any large payment you receive;
- Report any event that may affect the beneficiary’s entitlement to benefits or payment amount such as a return to work.
- Return any overpayment promptly (i.e., any payment we determine the beneficiary is not due);
- Keep separate records, for each beneficiary for whom Neighborhood Services is payee, for at least 2 years. Case Managers and a Custodial Bookkeeper must keep records of all payments , all bank statements, and receipts or cancelled checks for rent, utilities, and any major purchases made for the beneficiary. For example, if you withdraw $100 from the beneficiary’s account and buy an $80 item, then there must be a receipt for the $80 and a record reflecting the disposition of the remaining $20;
- Notify Social Security Administration of any changes or circumstances that would affect Neighborhood Services performance as a payee;
- Return to us any of the beneficiary’s funds you have conserved after you stop serving as payee; Neighborhood Services will hand deliver a check to the Lancaster Office of Social Security Office any conserved funds.
- Submit the appropriate forms for SSA periodic reviews or redeterminations of SSI eligibility factors. SSA will ask Neighborhood Services to supply information about the beneficiary’s income, resources and living arrangements to help us determine if the SSI beneficiary is still eligible for SSI and is receiving the correct payment amount;
- Submit a written or online report, at our request, of how Neighborhood Services spent or conserved benefits for each beneficiary we serve ; and
- Promptly report misuse or employee theft of beneficiary funds to us.
Neighborhood Services encourages Case Managers to go beyond managing finances and to become actively involved in the beneficiary’s life. For example, Case Managers may:
- Help the beneficiary complete applications for other services and assisting caseworkers, when applicable;
- Involve the beneficiary in establishing a budget and making financial decisions;
- Explain Social Security and SSI payments, and the beneficiary’s expenses, to him or her;
- Advise the beneficiary of current and past due benefits;
- Help the beneficiary access other available benefits and services (e.g., food stamps, housing subsidies, Medicare assistance with prescription drugs, etc.);
- Report to SSA on all the beneficiary’s work activity, impairment-related work expenses, blind countable expenses, and earned income exclusions;
- Negotiate with the beneficiary’s landlord and other creditors to get favorable terms;
- Help the beneficiary obtain medical treatment when necessary; and
- Help the beneficiary furnish appropriate information for our review of continuing disability.
As payee, Neighborhood Services must promptly notify SSA of any event or change that will affect the beneficiary’s entitlement to benefits, amount of benefits, or Neighborhood Services ability to fulfill the responsibilities of being payee.
The following list, while not all-inclusive, shows some of the most common things Case Managers must report:
- The beneficiary, or the beneficiary’s spouse, dies;
- The beneficiary moves;
- We are unable to contact the beneficiary and we do not know where the beneficiary is;
- The beneficiary marries, divorces or has a marriage annulled;
- The beneficiary’s name changes;
- The beneficiary starts or stops working;
- The disabled beneficiary’s condition improves;
- The beneficiary leaves or plans to leave the U.S. for 30 consecutive days or more;
- The beneficiary’s immigration or citizenship status changes;
- The beneficiary is confined to a correctional institution or has an unsatisfied warrant;
- The beneficiary is a child and is adopted, or his or her custody changes;
- The beneficiary is a child and his or her parents or step-parents divorce, or a parent or step-parent dies;
- The beneficiary no longer needs a payee;
- You learn that an employee of your organization has stolen a beneficiary’s funds; or
- Neighborhood Services can no longer serve as payee for any reason.