Supplemental Security Income Moved Off of 'High-Risk' List

Like a patient being upgraded from "critical" in the intensive care unit to "stable" condition, the GAO has recognized management improvements and has removed the supplemental security income program from its high-risk list. In doing so, GAO recognized the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) efforts to improve the management of the program. SSI, administered by SSA, is a needs-based financial assistance program that makes monthly payments to people who are disabled or aged and have limited income and assets.

"The American people expect and deserve well-managed programs," said Jo Anne Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security. "The removal of the SSI program from the high-risk list is an example of our commitment to good stewardship. I want to thank the Deputy Commissioner, Jim Lockhart, for his leadership in developing a corrective action plan that ultimately led to GAO’s favorable decision."

The GAO report states that "SSA has made sufficient progress in improving SSI’s financial integrity and management to warrant removing its high-risk designation." SSA established a task force that outlined initiatives to improve the management of the SSI program. This task force meets monthly to discuss progress and a newly designed management report.

Some of the key initiatives include:

  • increasing the number of financial reviews which verify that SSI beneficiaries continue to be eligible from 1.8 million in 1997 to 2.4 million in 2001

  • increasing the number of disability reviews to determine that a person is still disabled

  • increasing access to online data from financial institutions, federal and state government agencies and nursing homes to verify information about applicants

  • improving SSI overpayment collections through tax and Social Security offsets

  • establishing cross-agency Cooperative Disability Investigation teams lead by SSA’s Inspector General

  • developing program simplification initiatives

SSI is the nation’s largest cash assistance program for the poor. SSI is a means-tested program to provide or supplement the income of disabled, blind, or aged individuals with limited income and assets. In 2002, SSA made $38 billion in payments to more than 6.8 million SSI beneficiaries. Approximately 36 percent of SSI beneficiaries also receive Social Security retirement, survivors or disability benefits.

"I agree with GAO’s assessment that SSA must remain vigilant on issues of program integrity," said Commissioner Barnhart. "I’m pleased that the Comptroller General agrees with me and shares my commitment to improving the disability process and to assisting people with disabilities go to work. My service delivery budget, which I submitted last fall to the Office of Management and Budget, addresses these and other stewardship and service goals."

You may like these other stories...

By Jason Bramwell Government leaders of eight of the world's largest economies pledged on June 18 to take a tougher stance on fighting tax evasion. The Group of Eight (G8) leaders, who met in Northern Ireland,...
By Jason BramwellAttorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify on May 15 before the House Judiciary Committee, one day after he announced the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation of the IRS for...
By Jason BramwellPresident Barack Obama says he will not tolerate political bias at the IRS and promised to get to the bottom of the agency's admitted targeting of conservative groups, according to a May 13 article in...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
Apr 30
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.