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Lankford, Peters, Sinema Bill to Protect Retirees from Fraud Heads to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Kyrsten Sinema(D-AZ)  today praised final passage of their bipartisan Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act, which cracks down on federal retirement benefit fraud and misuse. The bill, which originally passed the Senate unanimously in November 2019, passed the House by voice vote last month and passed unanimously again in the Senate this week. It now heads to President Trump’s desk for signature into law.

“Today is an important day for retired federal employees as the House and Senate worked together on a bipartisan basis to protect their retirement funds,” said Lankford. “Misuse of federal retirement benefits is sadly constant. This bill will help prevent fraud and protect federal retirees by clarifying this type of fraud is a federal crime. I’m glad to see this necessary legislation make it to the finish line. I look forward to the President signing this bill into law on behalf of our retired federal employees.”

“After a lifetime on the job, Michiganders have earned the right to retire with dignity and financial security. Unfortunately, retirees across the country have been defrauded of their hard-earned benefits by dishonest caretakers taking advantage of loopholes in the law,” said Peters. “I’m proud that our bipartisan bill to close those loopholes is headed to the president’s desk, and will continue working to crack down on fraud and safeguard the retirement funds of hardworking Americans.”

“Arizona retirees earned their benefits through a lifetime of hard work and public service. Cracking down on fraud will better protect seniors so they can enjoy healthy and secure retirements,” said Sinema.

The Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act would give US Attorneys the statutory authority to prosecute representative payees that misuse funds when they act on behalf of a retiree who receives benefits under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) or the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Because of the misuse of government benefits by dishonest representatives of retirees, legislative solutions are needed. This bill classifies the crime of misusing federal retirement funds as a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, which will help deter deceitful caretaker behavior and provide similar protections that Social Security and Veterans Affairs payees currently receive.

Lankford is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management within the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The management of federal agencies and their workforce falls under Lankford’s Subcommittee jurisdiction.