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Psychiatr Serv. 1999 Jan;50(1):95-8.

Substance use and assignment of representative payees.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, Connecticut-Massachusetts Veterans Affairs Mental Illness Clinical Research and Education Center, USA.


Recent legislation prohibiting the awarding of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to people whose disability is based on drug and alcohol abuse has effectively eliminated the Social Security Administration's practice of assigning representative payees to such persons. Currently no regulations exist for assigning representative payees to substance users who receive benefits based on non-substance-use disabilities. The authors suggest guidelines for determining when recipients with comorbid substance use disorders are incapable of managing their benefit funds. Representative payeeship is recommended for recipients who meet three criteria within the last 12 months: a maladaptive pattern of substance use; mismanagement of funds due to substance use, causing substantial harm to the recipient, unavailability of sufficient funds to meet basic needs, or victimization of the recipient; and availability of a representative payee whose efforts would increase the likelihood that the beneficiary's mismanagement of funds will be curtailed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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