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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13281
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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HOW is it possible that an un-employed, incarcerate felon,

Customer Question

HOW is it possible that an un-employed, incarcerate felon, can - in any figment of imagination - be deemed "best qualified to be a representative payee for a minor child??
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Hi, my name is ***** ***** I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing SS law full time for 10+ years and look forward to assisting you.
Wow! That would typically NOT happen unless the SSA was not aware that the person was incarcerated. Unemployed is less an issue, since that applies to 1/2 the country, but incarcerated means he physically is unable to purchase many of the daily needs of the child, much less even SEE what items need to be purchased.
I would notify the SSA asap, in writing, mailed certified RRR. I would provide proof of the current incarceration, if possible. But stress that the child is in the custody of XXX and, if XXX is an appropriate RP, XXX can file to be such position. If XXX is not, you can ask for an institutional RP.
What did the SS clerical staff member say about the situation that was "to no avail." Did you get the name of that person and record the date of the conversation?
Lastly, if you have done your diligence and still are in this same situation, I'd send a copy of ALL to my Congressperson and ask for a congressional inquiry since something is clearly wrong.
The irony is that typically, an incarcerated felon is not even allowed his own benefits, much less someone elses. Ridiculous.
If you need to talk about this more, or privately, feel free to avail yourself of the "additional services" provision button.
I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To Stephanie O Joy Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.
Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank You for your reply - RP was incarcerated subsequently to being appointed. Local SSA Offiical told me that a person with a felony for unemployment fraud "would not be considered" for RP. status. SSA Rep. from Leesburg, Fl., office told me that just because a person "has a felony conviction that doesn't mean that's a bad person". My main question to both offices concerned SSA.s stated position "that after a careful investigation" - had SSA abided by their own tenets they would have determined "?after a careful investigation" that subject RP had been convicted of unemployment (or welfare fraud), was not employed, had been incarcerated for failure to pay child support, had driver's license permanently revoked by state of Florida, and has not held a full-time (nor part-time employment for at least 5 years).. SSA refuses to release any information under the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT and Florida refuses to release information un the FLORIDA OPEN RECORDS LAW. I am of the opinion that it should not be necessary for one to correspondence with their Congressman in order to get satisfactory intelligent answers to questions when such information is readlly available for public viewing..
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Hi again,
"Thank You for your reply - ------------- You are welcome. (Please don't forget to click to rate my service.)
"RP was incarcerated subsequently to being appointed. Local SSA Offiical told me that a person with a felony for unemployment fraud "would not be considered" for RP. status. -------- Yes, that is likely because, although discretionary usually, the SSA recognizes the someone willing to steal from the state UI fund, a crime of dishonesty and money greed, would not be trustworty to no steal money in other situations and shouldn't therefore be left IN control of money.
"SSA Rep. from Leesburg, Fl., office told me that just because a person "has a felony conviction that doesn't mean that's a bad person". ------- Of course, that is true. And someone unfit for a RP position isn't necessarily a "bad person" - but if the felony that involves money greed and stealing same...
"My main question to both offices concerned SSA.s stated position "that after a careful investigation" - -------- notice that they don't DEFINE what their careful investigation is... and I am sure it varies because usually criminal background is NOT done - usually whoever applies for the position gets it if related to beneficiary UNLESS someone disputes it. Did any one dispuate it that would have been a better choice?
"had SSA abided by their own tenets they would have determined "?after a careful investigation" ------- What "tenets" are you referring to? I am unaware of any tenets of the SSA that self-require it to take particular investigatory measures... but if you link me to a POMs or similar rule, I'd be happy to review it for you.
"that subject RP had been convicted of unemployment (or welfare fraud), was not employed, had been incarcerated for failure to pay child support, had driver's license permanently revoked by state of Florida, and has not held a full-time (nor part-time employment for at least 5 years).. SSA refuses to release any information under the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT ------ Yes, they do NOT release individuals private SS file information to anyone OTHER than an appointed representatie (not same as RP) of the subject person...
"and Florida refuses to release information un the FLORIDA OPEN RECORDS LAW. ---- What info are you seeking? You already know he was convicted, right? There ARE commercial companies that scour the court dockets and provide criminal checks for a small fee, via online - you can use them as well.
"I am of the opinion that it should not be necessary for one to correspondence with their Congressman in order to get satisfactory intelligent answers to questions when such information is readily available for public viewing.. ------- If readily available, then you would not be in need, if readily available then go get it, no? And, Actually, this is incorrect. SSA records are not public information, and that may be your troubles. Court records CAN be public, so if what you are seeking is the criminal records (I am not sure what else you are seeking?) you would want to go that route, not through the SSA. But the court won't do the searching for you and it takes much searching. THat is why you may prefer to outsource the leg work.
Are you trying to get this person removed as RP? Then you need to give the SSA reason to. If they made him RPSend evidence of his incompetency to the SSA (including OIG)... and, when a federal agency like the SSA fails in its job, from an objective perspective, our Congresspersons can perform a "congressional inquiry" because such federal agencies are "under" the auspices of Congress. So while you may not have an opinion that is should be necessary, I'd suggest that it IS necessary if the SSA is falling down on the job, and clearly you indicate it is. No magic wand in this imperfect world, squeaky wheel is often what it takes, when something is important enough. You see what I am saying? To be proactive and solution driven, often takes having to go that extra yard that 'shouldn't' be necessary if everyone did their jobs...
I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To Stephanie O Joy Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.
Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.
Your online legal resource!