Disability Rights North Carolina sent a letter to the NC Department of Health and Human Services requesting they provide urgent direction to all licensed residential providers serving Social Security Administration (SSA) beneficiaries with disabilities. These representative payees must understand that federal stimulus checks, known also as “Economic Impact Payments (EIP),” belong solely to the beneficiary to manage – not to them as the payee. In other words, the stimulus money is for the person whose name appears on the check.
The Social Security Administration posted direction on its website about the use of this money.
The letter explains:
- Being a payee does not give authority to manage a beneficiary’s non-social security income.
- That administrators need to properly credit the payments to individual residents’ personal needs accounts, inform them of the availability of their payments, and provide them timely access to their funds.
- Residents may choose to use the payment for things like personal room furnishings, tablets or smart phones to communicate with families and friends, or other purchases of their choosing.
- A meeting to make these decisions should be set with the resident’s support team (including involved family members, guardians and/or therapists who have insight on assistive technology needs, and Money Follows the Person (MFP) transition specialists if transition is being considered.)
This is only one of many issues that DRNC is working on the protect the rights of those in the disability community. During the COVID-19 crisis, this critical advocacy work is more important than ever.
Read about our work in response to COVID-19.