“Over time, many people have wished that Social Security would become more user-friendly and quicker to provide its "customers" (you and me) with special services and work-arounds that respond to pressing needs or just make life a little easier.”
These extra dimensions are the agency's efforts to do more for its beneficiaries. AARP’s August 2016 article, “Discover Little-Known Social Security Benefits,” notes that many of these get little attention—so here are some of them.
Some years ago, Social Security officials saw that the long waiting time for decisions on disability applications was resulting in severe hardship for the seriously ill. As a consequence, the agency established the Compassionate Allowances List.
This program’s goal is to swiftly grant disability status to those who suffer from any of the 225 serious medical conditions on the list. They include rare diseases, cancers, traumatic brain injury, stroke, early onset Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disease, multiple organ transplants and autoimmune diseases.
The Social Security Administration says that folks who can show they suffer from any of these afflictions will receive approval in weeks rather than months or years.
If you see that a loved one isn’t good at managing money, Social Security can help with its Representative Payee Program. It matches people who require assistance managing their finances with people who are willing and able to help them.
If you're concerned that a loved one has become incapable of managing or directing the management of his or her benefits, speak with an elder law attorney who focuses on Social Security to discuss your concerns.
Social Security will typically look to family members or friends to serve as representative payees. If no one is available, they work with social service agencies to locate people to serve as representative payees.
The payee takes control of the benefits sent to the person by Social Security, and the payee manages the money for the needs of that person. The payee has to maintain records and submit reports of his or her actions to Social Security.
Reference: AARP (August 2016) “Discover Little-Known Social Security Benefits”