Text: H.R.4547 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-165 (04/13/2018)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 165]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 132 STAT. 1257]]

Public Law 115-165
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To amend titles II, VIII, and XVI of the Social Security Act to improve 
  and strengthen the representative payment program. <<NOTE: Apr. 13, 
                         2018 -  [H.R. 4547]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Strengthening 
Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018.>> 
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 42 USC 1305 note.>>  SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Strengthening Protections for Social 
Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018''.
SEC. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title.
Sec. 2. Table of contents.

       TITLE I--STRENGTHENING OVERSIGHT AND BENEFICIARY PROTECTION

Sec. 101. Stronger monitoring of representative payees.
Sec. 102. Reducing the burden on families.
Sec. 103. Protecting beneficiaries through information sharing.
Sec. 104. Clarifying overpayment liability for child in child welfare 
           system.
Sec. 105. Reports.

             TITLE II--IMPROVING PAYEE SELECTION AND QUALITY

Sec. 201. Advance designation of representative payees.
Sec. 202. Prohibition on individuals convicted of certain crimes serving 
           as representative payees.
Sec. 203. Prohibition on individuals with representative payees serving 
           as representative payees.
Sec. 204. Reassessment of payee selection and replacement policies.

       TITLE I--STRENGTHENING OVERSIGHT AND BENEFICIARY PROTECTION

SEC. 101. <<NOTE: Grants. Reviews.>>  STRONGER MONITORING OF 
                        REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES.

    (a) Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries With Representative 
Payees.--Section 205(j)(6) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
405(j)(6)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(C)(i) <<NOTE: >>  The Commissioner of Social Security shall make 
annual grants directly to the protection and advocacy system serving 
each of the States and the American Indian consortium for the purpose of 
conducting reviews of representative payees in accordance with this 
subparagraph. The total amount used by the Commissioner for such grants 
each year--Intergovernmental relations.
Native 
Americans.
            ``(I) <<NOTE: Consultation.>>  shall be an amount 
        sufficient, as determined by the Commissioner in consultation 
        with each of the protection and advocacy systems, to carry out 
        all of the activities described in clause (ii); and

[[Page 132 STAT. 1258]]

            ``(II) shall not be less than $25,000,000.

    ``(ii) A protection and advocacy system awarded a grant under this 
subparagraph shall use the grant funds to--
            ``(I) conduct all periodic onsite reviews pursuant to this 
        paragraph and such other reviews of representative payees as the 
        Commissioner may request, including reviews conducted in 
        response to allegations or concerns about the performance or 
        suitability of the payee;
            ``(II) conduct additional reviews that the protection and 
        advocacy system has reason to believe are warranted;
            ``(III) <<NOTE: Plans.>>  develop corrective action plans to 
        assist representative payees in conforming to requirements 
        specified by the Commissioner;
            ``(IV) <<NOTE: Reports.>>  submit a report to the 
        Commissioner on each completed review containing such 
        information as the Commissioner shall require; and
            ``(V) <<NOTE: Assessments.>>  conduct an initial onsite 
        assessment of any organization that begins collecting a fee for 
        its services as a representative payee to ensure that such 
        organization is established as such a representative payee in 
        accordance with requirements specified by the Commissioner.

A protection and advocacy system may refer beneficiaries to other 
programs or services as the protection and advocacy system considers 
appropriate.
    ``(iii) To be eligible to receive grants under this section, a 
protection and advocacy system shall submit an initial application to 
the Commissioner at such time, in such form and manner, and accompanied 
by such information and assurances as the Commissioner may require.
    ``(iv)(I) Subject to subclause (II), the Commissioner shall ensure 
that any funds used for grants under clause (i) shall be allocated to 
the protection and advocacy systems serving each of the States and the 
American Indian consortium in a manner such that the amount provided to 
each protection and advocacy system bears the same ratio to the total of 
such funds as the number of represented beneficiaries in the State or 
American Indian consortium in which such protection and advocacy system 
is located bears to the total number of represented beneficiaries.
    ``(II) The amount of an annual grant to a protection and advocacy 
system under clause (i) shall--
            ``(aa) <<NOTE: Territories.>>  in the case of a protection 
        and advocacy system serving American Samoa, Guam, the United 
        States Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of the Northern 
        Mariana Islands, or the American Indian consortium, not be less 
        than $30,000; and
            ``(bb) in the case of a protection and advocacy system 
        serving any other State, not be less than $60,000.

    ``(III) <<NOTE: Time periods.>>  Funds provided to a protection and 
advocacy system through a grant under clause (i) for a 1-year period 
shall remain available through the end of the following 1-year period.

    ``(IV) For purposes of this clause, the term `represented 
beneficiary' means an individual--
            ``(aa) who is entitled to benefits under this title, title 
        VIII, or title XVI; and
            ``(bb) whose benefits have been certified for payment to a 
        representative payee.

[[Page 132 STAT. 1259]]

    ``(v)(I) The Commissioner shall make annual grants, in an amount 
equal to 4 percent of the total amount of grants awarded each year under 
clause (i), to an eligible national association for the provision of 
training and technical assistance, administrative support, and data 
collection services to protection and advocacy systems in connection 
with grants awarded under clause (i).
    ``(II) <<NOTE: Definition.>>  In this clause, the term `eligible 
national association' means a national disability association with 
extensive knowledge and demonstrated experience in providing training, 
technical assistance, and administrative oversight to protection and 
advocacy systems that monitor representative payees.

    ``(vi) In conducting reviews under this section, a protection and 
advocacy system shall have the same authorities, including access to 
records, facilities, and persons, as such system would have for purposes 
of providing services under subtitle C of title I of the Developmental 
Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 15041 
et seq.).
    ``(vii) <<NOTE: Effective date.>>  Whenever benefit amounts under 
this title are increased by any percentage effective with any month 
after November 2018 as a result of a determination made under section 
215(i), each of the dollar amounts specified in clauses (i)(II) and 
(iv)(II) shall be increased by the same percentage.

    ``(viii) No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to 
carry out the requirements of this subparagraph. Such requirements shall 
be carried out using amounts otherwise authorized.
    ``(ix) <<NOTE: Definitions.>>  In this subparagraph:
            ``(I) The term `American Indian consortium' means a 
        consortium established under subtitle C of title I of the 
        Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 
        2000 (42 U.S.C. 15041 et seq.).
            ``(II) The term `protection and advocacy system' means a 
        protection and advocacy system established under subtitle C of 
        title I of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of 
        Rights Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 15041 et seq.).
            ``(III) The term `State' means the several States of the 
        United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of 
        Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American 
        Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.''.

    (b) Expansion of Periodic Onsite Review Requirements.--Section 
205(j)(6)(A) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(j)(6)(A)) is 
amended--
            (1) in clause (ii), by striking ``or'';
            (2) in clause (iii), by striking the period and inserting 
        ``; or'';
            (3) by adding after clause (iii) the following:
            ``(iv) the representative payee collects a fee for its 
        services.''; and
            (4) by adding after clause (iv) (as added by paragraph (3)) 
        the following flush text:

``The Commissioner shall also conduct periodic onsite reviews of 
individual and organizational payees, including payees who are related 
to the beneficiary and primarily reside in the same household, selected 
on the basis of risk-factors for potential misuse or unsuitability 
associated with such payees or beneficiaries.''.
    (c) <<NOTE: 42 USC 405 note.>>  Availability of Grant Funds.--

[[Page 132 STAT. 1260]]

            (1) <<NOTE: Award dates. Reimbursement. Time period.>>  
        Protection and advocacy system grants.--Grants described under 
        clause (i) of subparagraph (C) of section 205(j)(6) of the 
        Social Security Act (as added by subsection (a)) shall be 
        awarded on August 1, 2018, and annually thereafter, and funds 
        provided by such grants to a protection and advocacy system may 
        be used to reimburse the protection and advocacy system for 
        amounts expended by the protection and advocacy system during 
        the period beginning on May 1, 2018, and ending on such date for 
        hiring and start-up costs in preparation to carry out reviews of 
        representative payees in accordance with such subparagraph.
            (2) National association grants.--Grants described under 
        clause (v) of such subparagraph shall be awarded on May 1, 2018, 
        and annually thereafter.
SEC. 102. REDUCING THE BURDEN ON FAMILIES.

    (a) Title II.--Section 205(j)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 
U.S.C. 405(j)(3)) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating subparagraphs (D) through (G) as 
        subparagraphs (E) through (H), respectively;
            (2) by inserting after subparagraph (C) the following:
                    ``(D)(i) Subparagraph (A) shall not apply in any 
                case where the other person to whom such payment is made 
                is--
                                    ``(I) a parent, or other individual 
                                who is a legal guardian of, a minor 
                                child entitled to such payment who 
                                primarily resides in the same household;
                                    ``(II) a parent of an individual 
                                entitled to such payment who is under a 
                                disability (as defined in section 
                                223(d)) who primarily resides in the 
                                same household; or
                                    ``(III) the spouse of the individual 
                                entitled to such payment.
                    ``(ii) <<NOTE: Procedures. Determination.>>  The 
                Commissioner of Social Security shall establish and 
                implement procedures as necessary for the Commissioner 
                to determine the eligibility of such parties for the 
                exemption provided in clause 
                (i). <<NOTE: Regulations.>>  The Commissioner shall 
                prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to 
                determine eligibility for such exemption.'';
            (3) in subparagaph (E) (as so redesignated), by striking 
        ``and (C)'' and inserting ``(C), and (D)''; and
            (4) in subparagraph (F) (as so redesignated), by striking 
        ``(D)'' each place it appears and inserting ``(E)''.

    (b) Title VIII.--Section 807(h) of the Social Security Act (42 
U.S.C. 1007(h)) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraphs (3) through (5) as 
        paragraphs (4) through (6), respectively; and
            (2) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:
            ``(3)(A) Paragraph (1) shall not apply in any case where the 
        other person to whom such payment is made is the spouse of the 
        individual entitled to such payment.
            ``(B) <<NOTE: Procedures. Determination.>>  The Commissioner 
        of Social Security shall establish and implement procedures as 
        necessary for the Commissioner to determine the eligibility of 
        such parties for the exemption

[[Page 132 STAT. 1261]]

        provided in subparagraph (A). <<NOTE: Regulations.>>  The 
        Commissioner shall prescribe such regulations as may be 
        necessary to determine eligibility for such exemption.''.

    (c) Title XVI.--Section 1631(a)(2)(C) of the Social Security Act (42 
U.S.C. 1383(a)(2)(C)) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating clauses (iv) and (v) as clauses (v) and 
        (vi), respectively;
            (2) by inserting after clause (iii) the following:
            ``(iv)(I) Clause (i) shall not apply in any case where the 
        representative payee is--
                    ``(aa) a parent, or other individual who is a legal 
                guardian of, a minor child entitled to such payment who 
                primarily resides in the same household;
                    ``(bb) a parent of an individual entitled to such 
                payment who is under a disability who primarily resides 
                in the same household; or
                    ``(cc) the spouse of the individual entitled to such 
                payment.
            ``(II) <<NOTE: Procedures. Determination.>>  The 
        Commissioner of Social Security shall establish and implement 
        procedures as necessary for the Commissioner to determine the 
        eligibility of such parties for the exemption provided in 
        subclause (I). The Commissioner shall prescribe such regulations 
        as may be necessary to determine eligibility for such 
        exemption.'';
            (3) in clause (v) (as so redesignated), by striking ``and 
        (iii)'' and inserting ``(iii), and (iv)''; and
            (4) in clause (vi) (as so redesignated), by striking 
        ``(iv)'' each time it appears and inserting ``(v)''.

    (d) <<NOTE: 42 USC 405 note.>>  Effective Date.--The amendments made 
by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this 
Act.
SEC. 103. PROTECTING BENEFICIARIES THROUGH INFORMATION SHARING.

    (a) Information Sharing To Determine State Foster Care Status.--
            (1) In general.--Section 205(j) of the Social Security Act 
        (42 U.S.C. 405(j)) is amended by adding at the end the 
        following:

    ``(11)(A) The Commissioner of Social Security shall--
            ``(i) <<NOTE: Contracts. Plan. Records.>>  enter into 
        agreements with each State with a plan approved under part E of 
        title IV for the purpose of sharing and matching data, on an 
        automated monthly basis, in the system of records of the Social 
        Security Administration with each Statewide and Tribal Automated 
        Child Welfare Information System to identify represented minor 
        beneficiaries who are in foster care under the responsibility of 
        the State for such month; and
            ``(ii) in any case in which a represented minor beneficiary 
        has entered or exited foster care or changed foster care 
        placement in such month, redetermine the appropriate 
        representative payee for such individual.

    ``(B) <<NOTE: Definitions.>>  For purposes of this paragraph--
            ``(i) the term `State' has the meaning given such term for 
        purposes of part E of title IV;
            ``(ii) the term `Statewide and Tribal Automated Child 
        Welfare Information System' means a statewide mechanized data 
        collection and information retrieval system described in section 
        474(a)(3)(C); and

[[Page 132 STAT. 1262]]

            ``(iii) the term `represented minor beneficiary', with 
        respect to an individual for a month, means a child (as defined 
        for purposes of section 475(8)) entitled to benefits under this 
        title for such month whose benefits are certified for payment to 
        a representative payee.''.
            (2) Conforming change.--Section 471(a)(8)(A) of the Social 
        Security Act (42 U.S.C. 671(a)(8)(A)) is amended by inserting 
        ``the program established by title II,'' after ``XX,''.
            (3) GAO study and report.--
                    (A) Evaluation.--As soon as possible after the date 
                of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General 
                shall evaluate--
                          (i) the number of represented minor 
                      beneficiaries in foster care under the 
                      responsibility of a State for each month during 
                      the previous year;
                          (ii) whether the representative payee for each 
                      represented minor beneficiary is--
                                    (I) a governmental child welfare 
                                agency;
                                    (II) an organizational payee that is 
                                not a governmental child welfare agency;
                                    (III) a foster parent or child-care 
                                institution (within the meaning of part 
                                E of title IV); or
                                    (IV) another individual; and
                          (iii) whether funds were conserved, used for 
                      direct expenses of the minor beneficiary, or used 
                      to reimburse the State for foster care maintenance 
                      costs.
                    (B) Report to congress.--Not later than 36 months 
                after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller 
                General shall submit to Congress a report on the results 
                of the evaluation required under subparagraph (A).
                    (C) Definitions.--For purposes of this paragraph--
                          (i) the term ``State'' has the meaning given 
                      such term for purposes of part E of title IV of 
                      the Social Security Act; and
                          (ii) the term ``represented minor 
                      beneficiary'', with respect to an individual for a 
                      month, means a child (as defined for purposes of 
                      section 475(8) of the Social Security Act) 
                      entitled to benefits under title II of such Act 
                      for such month whose benefits are certified for 
                      payment to a representative payee.
            (4) <<NOTE: Applicability. Time period. 42 USC 405 note.>>  
        Effective date.--
                    (A) In general.--The amendments made by this 
                subsection shall apply with respect to months beginning 
                on or after the date that is 1 year after the date of 
                the enactment of this Act.
                    (B) <<NOTE: Plan. Determination. Time period.>>  
                Exception if state legislation required.--In the case of 
                a State plan under part E of title IV of the Social 
                Security Act that the Secretary of Health and Human 
                Services determines requires State legislation (other 
                than legislation appropriating funds) in order for the 
                plan to meet the additional requirement imposed by the 
                amendments made under this subsection, such plan shall 
                not be regarded as failing to comply with the 
                requirements of such title solely on the basis of its 
                failure to meet this additional requirement before the 
                first day of the first calendar quarter beginning after 
                the close of the first regular session of the State 
                legislature that begins

[[Page 132 STAT. 1263]]

                after the date of the enactment of this Act. For 
                purposes of the previous sentence, in the case of a 
                State that has a 2-year legislative session, each year 
                of such session shall be deemed to be a separate regular 
                session of the State legislature.

    (b) Improving Coordination With Adult Protective Services.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Study.>>  In general.--The Commissioner of 
        Social Security shall study and test the administrative 
        feasibility of improving information sharing, in partnership 
        with State agencies that provide adult protective services, with 
        respect to--
                    (A) <<NOTE: Assessment.>>  the assessment of an 
                individual's need for a representative payee in 
                connection with benefits to which the individual is 
                entitled under title II or title XVI of the Social 
                Security Act; and
                    (B) oversight of individuals and organizations 
                serving as representative payees.
            (2) Report.--Not later than June 30, 2022, the Commissioner 
        of Social Security shall conclude the study described in 
        paragraph (1) and submit to the Committee on Ways and Means of 
        the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the 
        Senate a report on the results of such study.

    (c) Study on Potential To Coordinate With State Courts.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Contracts.>>  In general.--The Commissioner of 
        Social Security shall enter into an agreement with the 
        Administrative Conference of the United States to conduct a 
        study that includes--
                    (A) an overview of potential opportunities for 
                information sharing between the Social Security 
                Administration and State courts and relevant State 
                agencies;
                    (B) <<NOTE: Analysis.>>  a detailed analysis of the 
                barriers to such information sharing, including any 
                Federal or State statutory barriers;
                    (C) a description of how such information sharing 
                would be implemented, including any additional 
                infrastructure needed; and
                    (D) a description of any risks or other factors that 
                the Social Security Administration and the Congress 
                should consider before implementing such information 
                sharing.
            (2) <<NOTE: Public information.>>  Report.--Not later than 
        June 30, 2020, the Commissioner of Social Security shall submit 
        to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of 
        Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate and 
        make publicly available a report on the results of the study 
        conducted under paragraph (1).
SEC. 104. CLARIFYING OVERPAYMENT LIABILITY FOR CHILD IN CHILD 
                        WELFARE SYSTEM.

    (a) Amendment to Title II.--Section 204(a) of the Social Security 
Act (42 U.S.C. 404(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(3)(A) When any payment of more than the correct amount is made on 
behalf of an individual who is a represented minor beneficiary for a 
month in which such individual is in foster care under the 
responsibility of a State and the State is the representative payee of 
such individual, the State shall be liable for the repayment of the 
overpayment, and there shall be no adjustment

[[Page 132 STAT. 1264]]

of payments to, or recovery by the United States from, such individual.
    ``(B) <<NOTE: Definition.>>  For purposes of this paragraph, the 
term `represented minor beneficiary' has the meaning given such term in 
subsection (j)(11)(B)(iii).''.

    (b) Amendment to Title XVI.--Section 1631(b) of the Social Security 
Act (42 U.S.C. 1683(b)) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraphs (3) through (7) as 
        paragraphs (4) through (8), respectively; and
            (2) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

    ``(3)(A) When any payment of more than the correct amount is made on 
behalf of an individual who is a represented minor beneficiary for a 
month in which such individual is in foster care under the 
responsibility of a State and the State is the representative payee of 
such individual, the State shall be liable for the repayment of the 
overpayment, and there shall be no adjustment of payments to, or 
recovery by the United States from, such individual.
    ``(B) <<NOTE: Definition.>>  For purposes of this paragraph, the 
term `represented minor beneficiary', with respect to an individual for 
a month, means a child (as defined for purposes of section 475(8)) 
entitled to benefits under this title for such month whose benefits are 
certified for payment to a representative payee.''.

    (c) <<NOTE: Applicability. 42 USC 404 note.>>  Effective Date.--The 
amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to overpayment 
determinations made on or after the date of the enactment of this Act 
and to any other overpaid amounts that have not been recovered as of 
such date.
SEC. 105. REPORTS.

    (a) Report on Benefits Misused.--Section 205(j) of the Social 
Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(j)), as amended by section 103(a), is 
further amended--
            (1) in paragraph (6)--
                    (A) by striking ``(A) In addition to'' and inserting 
                ``In addition to''; and
                    (B) by striking subparagraph (B); and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(12)(A) Not later than January 31 of each fiscal year, the 
Commissioner shall submit to the Committee on Ways and Means of the 
House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a 
report on the total number of individuals entitled to benefits under 
titles II, VIII, and XVI, respectively, (and the number of individuals 
concurrently entitled to benefits under more than one such title) who 
have a representative payee, the total number of such representative 
payees, and the results of all reviews of representative payees 
conducted during the previous fiscal year in connection with benefits 
under this title, title VIII, or title XVI. Such report shall summarize 
problems identified in such reviews and corrective actions taken or 
planned to be taken to correct such problems, and shall include--
            ``(i) the number of such reviews;
            ``(ii) the results of such reviews;
            ``(iii) the number of cases in which the representative 
        payee was changed and why;
            ``(iv) the number of reviews conducted in response to 
        allegations or concerns about the performance or suitability of 
        the payee;

[[Page 132 STAT. 1265]]

            ``(v) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  the number of cases 
        discovered in which there was a misuse of funds, and the total 
        dollar amount of benefits determined by the Commissioner during 
        such fiscal year to have been misused by a representative payee 
        (regardless of the fiscal year in which such misuse occurred);
            ``(vi) the number of cases discovered in which such misuse 
        of funds resulted from the negligent failure of the Commissioner 
        to investigate or monitor a representative payee;
            ``(vii) the final disposition of such cases of misuse of 
        funds, including--
                    ``(I) any criminal, civil, and administrative 
                penalties imposed;
                    ``(II) the total dollar amount of misused benefits 
                repaid to beneficiaries and alternative representative 
                payees under each of--
                          ``(aa) paragraph (5) (on the basis of a 
                      negligent failure of the Commissioner described in 
                      such paragraph);
                          ``(bb) paragraph (5) (on any other basis); and
                          ``(cc) paragraph (7);
                    ``(III) the total dollar amount of misused benefits 
                recovered under each of--
                          ``(aa) paragraph (5); and
                          ``(bb) paragraph (7);
            ``(viii) any updates to prior year reports necessary to 
        reflect subsequent recoveries and repayments pertaining to 
        misuse determinations made in prior years; and
            ``(ix) such other information as the Commissioner deems 
        appropriate.

    ``(B) Each report required under this paragraph for a fiscal year 
shall include the information described in clauses (i) through (ix) of 
subparagraph (A) with respect to--
            ``(i) all representative payees reviewed during such fiscal 
        year;
            ``(ii) all such representative payees that are 
        organizations, separated by whether such organization collects a 
        fee for its services as a representative payee;
            ``(iii) all such representative payees that are individuals 
        serving 15 or more individuals; and
            ``(iv) all such representative payees that are individuals 
        serving less than 15 individuals, separated by whether such 
        representative payee is a family member.''.

    (b) Report on Elimination of the Accounting Form.--The Commissioner 
shall--
            (1) <<NOTE: Study.>>  conduct a study on the changes made by 
        the amendments made by section 102 of the Strengthening 
        Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018, which 
        shall include the impact of such changes on families, 
        beneficiaries, and the operations of the Social Security 
        Administration; and
            (2) not later than January 1, 2021, submit a report on the 
        results of such study to the Committee on Ways and Means of the 
        House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the 
        Senate.

    (c) Report on the Advanced Designation Policy.--The Commissioner 
shall--
            (1) <<NOTE: Study.>>  conduct a study on the changes made by 
        the amendments made by section 201 of the Strengthening 
        Protections

[[Page 132 STAT. 1266]]

        for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018, which shall 
        include the impact of such changes on beneficiaries and the 
        operations of the Social Security Administration; and
            (2) not later than January 1, 2025, submit a report on the 
        results of such study to the Committee on Ways and Means of the 
        House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the 
        Senate.

             TITLE II--IMPROVING PAYEE SELECTION AND QUALITY

SEC. 201. ADVANCE DESIGNATION OF REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES.

    (a) In General.--Section 205(j)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 
U.S.C. 405(j)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(C)(i) <<NOTE: Determinations. Certifications.>>  An individual 
who is entitled to or is an applicant for a benefit under this title, 
title VIII, or title XVI, who has attained 18 years of age or is an 
emancipated minor, may, at any time, designate one or more other 
individuals to serve as a representative payee for such individual in 
the event that the Commissioner of Social Security determines under 
subparagraph (A) that the interest of such individual would be served by 
certification for payment of such benefits to which the individual is 
entitled to a representative payee. If the Commissioner of Social 
Security makes such a determination with respect to such individual at 
any time after such designation has been made, the Commissioner shall--
            ``(I) certify payment of such benefits to the designated 
        individual, subject to the requirements of paragraph (2); or
            ``(II) if the Commissioner determines that certification for 
        payment of such benefits to the designated individual would not 
        satisfy the requirements of paragraph (2), that the designated 
        individual is unwilling or unable to serve as representative 
        payee, or that other good cause exists, certify payment of such 
        benefits to another individual or organization, in accordance 
        with paragraph (1).

    ``(ii) An organization may not be designated to serve as a 
representative payee under this subparagraph.''.
    (b) <<NOTE: 42 USC 405 note.>>  Effective Date.--The amendment made 
by subsection (a) shall take effect on the date that is 2 years after 
the date of the enactment of this section.

    (c) <<NOTE: Deadline. 42 USC 405 note.>>  Regulations.--Not later 
than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this section, the 
Commissioner of Social Security shall promulgate regulations specifying 
the information an individual is required to provide to the Commissioner 
in order to designate another individual to serve as the individual's 
representative payee under section 205(j)(1)(C) of the Social Security 
Act (as added by subsection (a)).

    (d) <<NOTE: Deadline. 42 USC 405 note.>>  Notification to 
Beneficiaries.--Not later than January 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, 
the Commissioner of Social Security shall notify each individual 
entitled to a benefit under title II, VIII, or XVI of the Social 
Security Act of the name of any individual designated to serve as the 
individual's representative payee under section 205(j)(1)(C) of such Act 
(as added by subsection (a)).

[[Page 132 STAT. 1267]]

SEC. 202. PROHIBITION ON INDIVIDUALS CONVICTED OF CERTAIN CRIMES 
                        SERVING AS REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES.

    (a) Amendments to Title II.--Section 205(j)(2) of the Social 
Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(j)(2)) is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (B)--
                    (A) in clause (i)--
                          (i) in subclause (V), by striking ``and'' at 
                      the end;
                          (ii) in subclause (VI), by striking the period 
                      and inserting ``, and''; and
                          (iii) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(VII) <<NOTE: Determinations.>>  determine whether such 
        person has been convicted (and not subsequently exonerated), 
        under Federal or State law, of a felony provided under clause 
        (iv), or of an attempt or a conspiracy to commit such a 
        felony.''; and
                    (B) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(iv) The felony crimes provided under this clause, whether an 
offense under State or Federal law, are the following:
            ``(I) Human trafficking, including as prohibited under 
        sections 1590 and 1591 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(II) False imprisonment, including as prohibited under 
        section 1201 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(III) Kidnapping, including as prohibited under section 
        1201 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(IV) Rape and sexual assault, including as prohibited 
        under sections 2241, 2242, 2243, and 2244 of title 18, United 
        States Code.
            ``(V) First-degree homicide, including as prohibited under 
        section 1111 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(VI) Robbery, including as prohibited under section 2111 
        of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(VII) Fraud to obtain access to government assistance, 
        including as prohibited under sections 287, 1001, and 1343 of 
        title 18, United States Code.
            ``(VIII) Fraud by scheme, including as prohibited under 
        section 1343 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(IX) Theft of government funds or property, including as 
        prohibited under section 641 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(X) Abuse or neglect, including as prohibited under 
        sections 111, 113, 114, 115, 116, or 117 of title 18, United 
        States Code.
            ``(XI) Forgery, including as prohibited under section 642 
        and chapter 25 (except section 512) of title 18, United States 
        Code.
            ``(XII) Identity theft or identity fraud, including as 
        prohibited under sections 1028 and 1028A of title 18, United 
        States Code.

The Commissioner of Social Security may promulgate regulations to 
provide for additional felony crimes under this clause.
    ``(v)(I) For the purpose of carrying out the activities required 
under subparagraph (B)(i) as part of the investigation under 
subparagraph (A)(i), the Commissioner may conduct a background check of 
any individual seeking to serve as a representative payee under this 
subsection and may disqualify from service as a representative payee any 
such individual who fails to grant permission for the Commissioner to 
conduct such a background check.
    ``(II) <<NOTE: Certification. Effective date.>>  The Commissioner 
may revoke certification of payment of benefits under this subsection to 
any individual serving as a

[[Page 132 STAT. 1268]]

representative payee on or after January 1, 2019 who fails to grant 
permission for the Commissioner to conduct such a background check.''; 
and
            (2) in subparagraph (C)--
                    (A) in clause (i)--
                          (i) in subclause (IV), by striking ``or'' at 
                      the end;
                          (ii) in subclause (V), by striking the period 
                      at the end and inserting ``, or''; and
                          (iii) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(VI) except as provided in clause (vi), such person has 
        previously been convicted (and not subsequently exonerated) as 
        described in subparagraph (B)(i)(VII).''; and
                    (B) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(vi)(I) With respect to any person described in subclause (II)--
            ``(aa) subparagraph (B)(i)(VII) shall not apply; and
            ``(bb) <<NOTE: Exemption. Determination.>>  the Commissioner 
        may grant an exemption from the provisions of clause (i)(VI) if 
        the Commissioner determines that such exemption is in the best 
        interest of the individual entitled to benefits.

    ``(II) A person is described in this subclause if the person--
            ``(aa) is the custodial parent of a minor child for whom the 
        person applies to serve;
            ``(bb) is the custodial spouse of the beneficiary for whom 
        the person applies to serve;
            ``(cc) is the custodial parent of a beneficiary who is under 
        a disability (as defined in section 223(d)) which began before 
        the beneficiary attained the age of 22, for whom the person 
        applies to serve;
            ``(dd) is the custodial court appointed guardian of the 
        beneficiary for whom the person applies to serve;
            ``(ee) is the custodial grandparent of a minor grandchild 
        for whom the person applies to serve;
            ``(ff) is the parent who was previously representative payee 
        for his or her minor child who has since turned 18 and continues 
        to be eligible for such benefit; or
            ``(gg) received a presidential or gubernatorial pardon for 
        the relevant conviction.''.

    (b) Amendments to Title VIII.--Section 807 of the Social Security 
Act (42 U.S.C. 1007) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (b)--
                    (A) in paragraph (2)--
                          (i) in subparagraph (E), by striking ``and'' 
                      at the end;
                          (ii) in subparagraph (F), by striking the 
                      period and inserting ``, and''; and
                          (iii) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(G) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  determine whether 
                such person has been convicted (and not subsequently 
                exonerated), under Federal or State law, of a felony 
                provided under paragraph (4), or of an attempt or a 
                conspiracy to commit such a felony.''; and
                    (B) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(4) The felony crimes provided under this paragraph, 
        whether an offense under State or Federal law, are the 
        following:
                    ``(A) Human trafficking, including as prohibited 
                under sections 1590 and 1591 of title 18, United States 
                Code.

[[Page 132 STAT. 1269]]

                    ``(B) False imprisonment, including as prohibited 
                under section 1201 of title 18, United States Code.
                    ``(C) Kidnapping, including as prohibited under 
                section 1201 of title 18, United States Code.
                    ``(D) Rape and sexual assault, including as 
                prohibited under sections 2241, 2242, 2243, and 2244 of 
                title 18, United States Code.
                    ``(E) First-degree homicide, including as prohibited 
                under section 1111 of title 18, United States Code.
                    ``(F) Robbery, including as prohibited under section 
                2111 of title 18, United States Code.
                    ``(G) Fraud to obtain access to government 
                assistance, including as prohibited under sections 287, 
                1001, and 1343 of title 18, United States Code.
                    ``(H) Fraud by scheme, including as prohibited under 
                section 1343 of title 18, United States Code.
                    ``(I) Theft of government funds or property, 
                including as prohibited under section 641 of title 18, 
                United States Code.
                    ``(J) Abuse or neglect, including as prohibited 
                under sections 111, 113, 114, 115, 116, or 117 of title 
                18, United States Code.
                    ``(K) Forgery, including as prohibited under section 
                642 and chapter 25 (except section 512) of title 18, 
                United States Code.
                    ``(L) Identity theft or identity fraud, including as 
                prohibited under sections 1028 and 1028A of title 18, 
                United States Code.
        The Commissioner of Social Security may promulgate regulations 
        to provide for additional felony crimes under this clause.

    ``(5)(A) For the purpose of carrying out the activities required 
under paragraph (2) as part of the investigation under paragraph (1)(A), 
the Commissioner may conduct a background check of any individual 
seeking to serve as a representative payee under this subsection and may 
disqualify from service as a representative payee any such individual 
who fails to grant permission for the Commissioner to conduct such a 
background check.
    ``(B) <<NOTE: Certification. Effective date.>>  The Commissioner may 
revoke certification of payment of benefits under this subsection to any 
individual serving as a representative payee on or after January 1, 2019 
who fails to grant permission for the Commissioner to conduct such a 
background check.''; and
            (2) in subsection (d)--
                    (A) in paragraph (1)--
                          (i) in subparagraph (D), by striking ``or'' at 
                      the end;
                          (ii) in subparagraph (E), by striking the 
                      period at the end and inserting ``, or''; and
                          (iii) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(F) except as provided in paragraph (2)(D), such 
                person has previously been convicted (and not 
                subsequently exonerated) as described in subsection 
                (b)(2)(G).''; and
                    (B) in paragraph (2), by adding at the end the 
                following:

    ``(D)(i) With respect to any person described in clause (II)--
    ``(I) subsection (b)(2)(G) shall not apply; and
    ``(II) <<NOTE: Exemption. Determination.>>  the Commissioner may 
grant an exemption from the provisions of paragraph (1)(F) if the 
Commissioner determines that such

[[Page 132 STAT. 1270]]

exemption is in the best interest of the individual entitled to 
benefits.

    ``(ii) A person is described in this clause if the person--
    ``(I) is the custodial spouse of the beneficiary for whom the person 
applies to serve;
    ``(II) is the custodial court appointed guardian of the beneficiary 
for whom the person applies to serve; or
    ``(III) received a presidential or gubernatorial pardon for the 
relevant conviction.''.
    (c) Amendments to Title XVI.--Section 1631(a)(2)(B) of the Social 
Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1383(a)(2)(B)) is amended--
            (1) in clause (ii)--
                    (A) in subclause (V), by striking ``and'' at the 
                end;
                    (B) in subclause (VI), by striking the period and 
                inserting ``, and''; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following:
            `` <<NOTE: Determination.>> (VII) determine whether such 
        person has been convicted (and not subsequently exonerated), 
        under Federal or State law, of a felony provided under clause 
        (xv), or of an attempt or a conspiracy to commit such a 
        felony.'';
            (2) in clause (iii)--
                    (A) in subclause (IV), by striking ``or'' at the 
                end;
                    (B) in subclause (V), by striking the period at the 
                end and inserting ``, or''; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(VI) except as provided in clause (xvii), such person has 
        previously been convicted (and not subsequently exonerated) as 
        described in clause (ii)(VII).''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(xv) The felony crimes provided under this clause, whether an 
offense under State or Federal law, are the following:
            ``(I) Human trafficking, including as prohibited under 
        sections 1590 and 1591 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(II) False imprisonment, including as prohibited under 
        section 1201 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(III) Kidnapping, including as prohibited under section 
        1201 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(IV) Rape and sexual assault, including as prohibited 
        under sections 2241, 2242, 2243, and 2244 of title 18, United 
        States Code.
            ``(V) First-degree homicide, including as prohibited under 
        section 1111 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(VI) Robbery, including as prohibited under section 2111 
        of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(VII) Fraud to obtain access to government assistance, 
        including as prohibited under sections 287, 1001, and 1343 of 
        title 18, United States Code.
            ``(VIII) Fraud by scheme, including as prohibited under 
        section 1343 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(IX) Theft of government funds or property, including as 
        prohibited under section 641 of title 18, United States Code.
            ``(X) Abuse or neglect, including as prohibited under 
        sections 111, 113, 114, 115, 116, or 117 of title 18, United 
        States Code.
            ``(XI) Forgery, including as prohibited under section 642 
        and chapter 25 (except section 512) of title 18, United States 
        Code.

[[Page 132 STAT. 1271]]

            ``(XII) Identity theft or identity fraud, including as 
        prohibited under sections 1028 and 1028A of title 18, United 
        States Code.

The Commissioner of Social Security may promulgate regulations to 
provide for additional felony crimes under this clause.
    ``(xvi)(I) For the purpose of carrying out the activities required 
under clause (ii) as part of the investigation under clause (i)(I), the 
Commissioner may conduct a background check of any individual seeking to 
serve as a representative payee under this subsection and may disqualify 
from service as a representative payee any such individual who fails to 
grant permission for the Commissioner to conduct such a background 
check.
    ``(II) <<NOTE: Certification. Effective date.>>  The Commissioner 
may revoke certification of payment of benefits under this subsection to 
any individual serving as a representative payee on or after January 1, 
2019 who fails to grant permission for the Commissioner to conduct such 
a background check.

    ``(xvii)(I) With respect to any person described in subclause (II)--
            ``(aa) clause (ii)(VII) shall not apply; and
            ``(bb) <<NOTE: Exemption. Determination.>>  the Commissioner 
        may grant an exemption from the provisions of clause (iii)(VI) 
        if the Commissioner determines that such exemption is in the 
        best interest of the individual entitled to benefits.

    ``(II) A person is described in this subclause if the person--
            ``(aa) is the custodial parent of a minor child for whom the 
        person applies to serve;
            ``(bb) is the custodial spouse of the beneficiary for whom 
        the person applies to serve;
            ``(cc) is the custodial parent of a beneficiary who is under 
        a disability which began before the beneficiary attained the age 
        of 22, for whom the person applies to serve;
            ``(dd) is the custodial court appointed guardian of the 
        beneficiary for whom the person applies to serve;
            ``(ee) is the custodial grandparent of a minor grandchild 
        for whom the person applies to serve;
            ``(ff) is the parent who was previously representative payee 
        for his or her minor child who has since turned 18 and continues 
        to be eligible for such benefit; or
            ``(gg) received a presidential or gubernatorial pardon for 
        the relevant conviction.''.

    (d) <<NOTE: Effective date. 42 USC 405 note.>>  Application to New 
Appointments.--Subject to subsection (e), the amendments made by 
subsections (a), (b), and (c) shall apply with respect to any individual 
appointed to serve as a representative payee pursuant to section 205(j), 
807, or 1631(a)(2) of the Social Security Act on or after January 1, 
2019.

    (e) <<NOTE: 42 USC 405 note.>>  Application to Prior Appointments.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Deadline. Review. Determination.>>  In 
        general.--Not later than January 1, 2024, the Commissioner of 
        Social Security shall conduct a review of each individual 
        serving as a representative payee pursuant to 205(j), 807, or 
        1631(a)(2) of the Social Security Act, to determine whether such 
        individual has been convicted of a felony as described in 
        section 205(j)(2)(B)(i)(VII), 807(b)(2)(G), or 
        1631(a)(2)(B)(ii)(VII), respectively (as such provisions are 
        added by this section). <<NOTE: Effective date.>> Except as 
        provided in section 205(j)(2)(C)(vi), 807(d)(2)(D), or 
        1631(a)(2)(B)(xvii) (as so added), any individual determined by 
        the Commissioner to have been so convicted

[[Page 132 STAT. 1272]]

        may not serve as a representative payee on or after the date of 
        such determination.
            (2) Priority.--In conducting reviews under paragraph (1), 
        the Commissioner shall prioritize reviews of the following 
        categories of individuals, in the following order:
                    (A) An individual serving as representative payee 
                for 15 or more individuals.
                    (B) An individual serving as representative payee 
                for an individual who is not related to the 
                representative payee.
                    (C) An individual serving as representative payee 
                for an individual who has attained the age of 18 and is 
                not the spouse of the representative payee.

    (f) <<NOTE: Deadline. Regulations. Time period. Determination. 42 
USC 405 note.>>  Periodic Review.--Not later than 1 year after the date 
of enactment of this section, the Commissioner of Social Security shall 
issue regulations to establish a process for reviewing each individual 
serving as a representative payee pursuant to section 205(j), 807, or 
1631(a)(2) of the Social Security Act (other than individuals with 
respect to whom an exemption has been granted under section 
205(j)(2)(C)(vi), 807(d)(2)(D), or 1631(a)(2)(B)(xvii)) not less than 
once every 5 years to determine whether any such individual has been 
convicted of a felony as described in subsection (e)(1) of this section.
SEC. 203. PROHIBITION ON INDIVIDUALS WITH REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES 
                        SERVING AS REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES.

    (a) Amendment to Title II.--Section 205(j)(2)(C)(i) of the Social 
Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(j)(2)(C)(i)), as amended by section 
202(a)(2), is further amended--
            (1) in subclause (V), by striking ``or'' at the end;
            (2) in subclause (VI), by striking the period and inserting 
        ``, or''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(VII) <<NOTE: Certification.>>  such person's benefits 
        under this title, title VIII, or title XVI are certified for 
        payment to a representative payee during the period for which 
        the individual's benefits would be certified for payment to 
        another person.''.

    (b) Amendment to Title VIII.--Section 807(d)(1) of the Social 
Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1007(d)(1)), as amended by section 202(b)(2), is 
further amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (E), by striking ``or'' at the end;
            (2) in subparagraph (F), by striking the period and 
        inserting ``, or''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(G) <<NOTE: Certification.>>  such person's 
                benefits under this title, title II, or title XVI are 
                certified for payment to a representative payee during 
                the period for which the individual's benefits would be 
                certified for payment to another person.''.

    (c) Amendment to Title XVI.--Section 1631(a)(2)(B)(iii) of the 
Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1383(a)(2)(B)(iii)), as amended by 
section 202(c)(2), is further amended--
            (1) in subclause (V), by striking ``or'' at the end;
            (2) in subclause (VI), by striking the period and inserting 
        ``, or''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(VII) <<NOTE: Certification.>>  such person's benefits 
        under this title, title II, or title VIII are certified for 
        payment to a representative payee

[[Page 132 STAT. 1273]]

        during the period for which the individual's benefits would be 
        certified for payment to another person.''.

    (d) <<NOTE: 42 USC 405 note.>>  Effective Date.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Applicability>>  New appointments.--Subject to 
        paragraph (2), the amendments made by this section shall apply 
        with respect to any individual appointed to serve as a 
        representative payee under title II, title VIII, or title XVI of 
        the Social Security Act on or after January 1, 2019.
            (2) <<NOTE: Certification. Termination date.>>  Prior 
        appointments.--With respect to individuals serving as a 
        representative payee whose benefits under this title, title 
        VIII, or title XVI are certified for payment to another 
        representative payee as of January 1, 2019, the Commissioner 
        shall take any steps necessary to terminate such individual's 
        service as a representative payee as soon as possible, but no 
        later than January 1, 2024.
SEC. 204. REASSESSMENT OF PAYEE SELECTION AND REPLACEMENT 
                        POLICIES.

    (a) <<NOTE: Public comment. Review.>>  In General.--The Commissioner 
of Social Security shall conduct, with opportunity for public comment, a 
review and reassessment of--
            (1) the appropriateness of its order of preference for 
        selecting representative payees, including payees who may be 
        creditors of the beneficiary or who are private, for-profit 
        institutions; and
            (2) the effectiveness of its policy and operational 
        procedures in properly determining when to change a 
        representative payee, including--
                    (A) from a payee that has a higher order of 
                preference (such as a family member) to a payee that has 
                a lower order of preference (such as a creditor); or
                    (B) when a request to change payees arises from 
                someone other than the beneficiary.

    (b) Report.--Not later than 18 months after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Commissioner of Social Security shall submit 
to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and 
the Committee on Finance of the Senate and make publicly available a 
report on the results of the review and reassessment under subsection 
(a).

    Approved April 13, 2018.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 4547:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
            Feb. 5, considered and passed House.
            Mar. 22, considered and passed Senate.

                                  <all>