Smith Supports Bill to Strengthen Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries

Feb 5, 2018 Issues: Social Security, Ways & Means

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) spoke on the House floor today in support of H.R. 4547, the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act. A cosponsor of the legislation, Smith applauded the provisions of the bill designed to better protect children involved in the foster care system, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee chaired by Smith.

   
Smith’s remarks:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today in support of H.R. 4547, the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act.

This bill is important to two program areas under the jurisdiction of the Human Resources Subcommittee, which I chair: Supplemental Security Income and child welfare.

Thank you to Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Larson for their work on this bill and for including Supplemental Security Income recipients. 

All individuals receiving benefits through the Social Security Administration deserve to be protected, especially those who need the assistance of a representative payee to manage their finances.

I would specifically like to highlight the important changes this bill would make for children involved with the foster care system, another vulnerable population in need of protection.

H.R. 4547 requires the Social Security Administration, or SSA, to enter into monthly data exchanges with state foster care programs to identify when a child receiving Social Security benefits has entered or exited foster care, or changed foster care placement.

When a change occurs, SSA will now be required to re-determine the appropriate representative payee to ensure Social Security benefits follow the child.

Additionally, the Government Accountability Office will be required to produce a report on minor beneficiaries in foster care and their representative payees to identify whether additional changes are needed.

H.R. 4547 also clarifies liability for overpayments when a child is in foster care.

In cases where a Social Security beneficiary or Supplemental Security Income recipient is overpaid while in foster care, and the state foster care agency is the payee, the beneficiary or recipient would not be liable for the overpayment.

Instead, the state foster care agency would be required to repay SSA for the overpayment it received.

Foster youth exiting the system have enough challenges, and paying back an overpayment they never received should not have to be one of them.

I am proud to cosponsor this legislation, and I encourage my colleagues to support its passage. I yield back.