Sending Office: Honorable Rashida Tlaib
Join Us in Preventing Fraud for Federal Retirees
Cosponsor H.R. 5214 – Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act of 2019
Original Co-Sponsor: Mark Meadows (R-NC)
Please join us in this bipartisan effort to protect recipients of Federal retiree benefits from unscrupulous caretakers who take the retiree’s payments and use them for their own benefit rather than the retiree’s benefit.
Under Federal statute, individuals who are minors, have been declared mentally incompetent, or have some other qualifying legal disability can have their benefits paid on their behalf through a court-appointed or agency-approved representative, frequently
referred to as ‘‘representative payees.”
From 2004 to 2005, Congress 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. These statutes holds that such misuse of government benefits is a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $250,000, up to five years in prison, or both. However, no similar penalty was created for those representatives
who misuse or embezzle Federal retiree benefits processed through the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM), specifically: 1) Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) benefits; and 2) Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) benefits.
This lack of Federal penalty leaves some of its most vulnerable civil servants—including those who have been declared mentally incompetent—with less legal recourse when they are taken advantage of and their retirement funds are misused. The OPM Office of
Inspector General (OIG) has reported to Congress an increase in recent years 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.
We must ensure that vulnerable populations are protected at every front. People who receive Federal retiree benefits are currently unprotected when it comes to representative payees – it’s time to provide them the protection they deserve.
The Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act of 2019 holds those who misuse CSRS and FERS funds accountable in the same manner that already exists for Social Security and Veterans’ benefits. In addition to prosecuting those who misuse benefits
intended for government retirees, this legislation prevents those who have committed this crime before (whether for CSRS, FERS, Social Security, or Veterans’ benefits) from serving as a representative payee in the future.
Let’s ensure our civil servants who have dedicated their lives to serving our country are protected against fraud. Cosponsor H.R. 5214 – Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act of 2019.
Please email Ethan.Azad@mail.house.gov to cosponsor this legislation.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib
Congressman Mark Meadows
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0