SOCIAL SECURITY OFFERS ADVANCE DESIGNATION OF REP PAYEE
As we all know, challenges associated with aging are inevitable. Cognitive issues related to financial decision-making are among them. Scientists have concluded that the “peak age” for managing finances is around age 53. At EverSafe, our mission is to help families plan in advance for challenges that may arise with age – especially as they affect their ability to protect their money. Toward that end, trusted advocates can be designated to receive alerts along with members. And in a relatively new law, the Social Security Administration (SSA) now enables individuals the option to designate a representative payee in advance – in case the need ever arises. Their program permits capable adults who apply for or receive Social Security to choose up to three people who can serve as a representative payee in the event a recipient becomes unable to manage their affairs. The “advance designee” will only be contacted if there is a need to contact the rep payee to assist in managing benefits – and they will also “fully evaluate them to determine their suitability at that time.” This is an option and not a requirement and the assignment of the designee can be updated or withdrawn at any time. For more information, individuals can sign into their my Social Security account, or call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or their local office.
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FTC’S OLDER ADULT SCAM PREVENTION INITIATIVE
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report to Congress earlier this month detailing their efforts to address elder fraud. The report noted that in 2022, older adults reported significantly higher losses to investment scams, business impersonation scams and government impersonation scams than they did in 2021. The Scams Against Older Adults Advisory Group, referenced in the report (pages 42 – 45), was initiated several months ago under the Stop Senior Scams Act. It consists of members from federal agencies, consumer advocates, and selected industry representatives committed to implementing new initiatives to reduce the impact of fraud on older people. The sub-committee on industry training has discussed ways its members have identified, responded to, and reported fraud targeting vulnerable customers. One of the initiatives highlighted was BankSafe, an award-winning AARP educational tool for financial services professionals. In the last meeting, the group learned about the HelpVul reporting portal, now accessible to thousands of financial services professionals to meet their reporting.