Bipartisan Tlaib Bill Protecting Vulnerable Federal Retirees Passes House

February 5, 2020
Press Release
Legislation will hold representative payees accountable for fraudulent activity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s (MI-13) Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act. This bill aims to protect vulnerable Federal retirees from fraud and wrongdoing by their representative payee. “Representative payees” are court-appointed or agency-approved representatives for individuals who are minors, have been declared mentally incompetent, or have some other qualifying legal disability can have their benefits paid to on their behalf. The legislation is being co-led with Congressman Mark Meadows (NC-11).

 

In recent years, the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has reported to Congress an increase in the number of representative payees who take advantage of their position and use the money they receive for purposes other than to benefit the Federal retiree.

 

Congress has already created penalties for anyone who takes funds from Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits, Social Security Supplemental Income, or Veterans’ Benefits and fraudulently uses the funds for their own purposes, rather than on behalf of the intended recipient. However, no similar penalty was created for those misusing or embezzling Federal retiree benefits. The Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act would fix that and protect those retirees from fraud.

 

“We cannot leave vulnerable retirees without the protection they deserve,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “While many representative payees are taking care of and doing right by Federal retirees, we know that some are being taken advantage of. The Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act will help to deter wrongdoing and hold those who harm these retirees accountable. This is an important aspect of ensuring that one of our most vulnerable populations is protected on every front. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to make sure this bill becomes law.”

 

This is the second Tlaib bill passed by the House in two weeks. The bill text can be viewed here.

 

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