Earlier this month the Social Security Administration adopted new representative payee policies originating from a Philadelphia based pilot program with new screening requirements for all potential representative payees. Representative payees are individuals who collect on the behalf of a disabled individual who is deemed unable to competently manage their own finances and therefore require a legal proxy. The new backgrounds checks disqualifies individuals who have been convicted of one of twelve listed crimes from being able to serve as a payee. The crimes include human trafficking, false imprisonment, rape or sexual assault, first-degree homicide, kidnapping, robbery, multiple forms of fraud, abuse, neglect, forgery, and identify theft. According to the Huffington Post “Bob Casey: Social Security Screening Program Should Be Expanded” January 27, 2013 article, U.S. Senator Bob Casey has been a strong advocate of tougher screening policies for individuals granted representative payees for years. In Pennsylvania and other states such as California and Massachusetts with a significant older adult population, financial elder abuse is a rising area of concern as it impacts an older adult’s overall quality of life. As a Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing home injury specialist some typical signs of financial abuse may include drastic changes in behavior, weight loss, medical decline due to shortage in medication, and even unusual financial behaviors such as large cash withdrawals, or signing over a piece of property. If you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered financial elder abuse feel free to talk to a Pennsylvania and New Jersey elder abuse specialist today.
The initial pilot representative screening program began this past June in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. As of this March program has become standard practice for the Social Security Administration. While Senator Bob Casey has been advocating for tougher policies to combat finical abuse of elders and those who are disabled for many years, it was not until a recent horror was discovered of extreme abuse and neglect in Philadelphia that made the topic ripe for action. What has been referred to as the “Philadelphia Dungeon Case” only describes a fraction of the alleged horror that at least six victims were subjected to by those who they thought they could trust. The Philadelphia Police Department discovered the victims in the Tacony section of Philadelphia on October 15, 2011. The accused ringleader Linda Ann Weston and five others were charged with a laundry list of offenses including a federal hate crime involving acts against the disabled. For over a decade the Philadelphia resident allegedly lured children and the disabled into her care, and then imprisoned and drugged her victims for their Social Security checks.
If you suspect you or your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, the Philadelphia based law firm of Rosenbaum and Associates may be able to assist. If you would like more information regarding elder abuse and to determine whether you have grounds for a case, please contact us online or call 1 800 7 LEGAL 7 for a Free Case Evaluation.