Fedweek

OPM has proposed rules to carry out changes enacted into law regarding “representative payees,” who receive payments such as federal retirement or survivor benefits on behalf of another person, commonly a beneficiary under age 18 or one who is unable to handle their own financial affairs.

Rules in the March 8 Federal Register would clarify that such payments may be made to an institution such as a nursing home as well as to an individual while adding several protections against misuse of funds.

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Those protections include: giving OPM authority revoke a payee designation if it determines that a payee has embezzled or converted the annuity payments, and to instead make payments to another payee or directly to the beneficiary; making misuse of benefits by a payee a crime punishable by a fine, up to five years imprisonment or both; making persons who have been convicted of certain crimes ineligible to serve as a payee; and giving OPM authority to suspend payments in certain situations.

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