Research Notes & Special Studies by the Historian's Office

Research Note #18:
Social Security Legislation and Related Events During the Administration of President George H. W. Bush

This Research Note primarily summarizes the legislation enacted during the term of President George H. W. Bush, from January 1989 through January 1993. small engraved portrait of President Bush


During the first Bush Administration there were 22 bills enacted containing Social Security-related provisions.

1) P. L. 101-56, Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act Amendments of 1989, signed into law July 19, 1989: Delayed effective date of earlier legislation governing how and when SSA exchanges information with other federal agencies.

2) P. L. 101-136, Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations Act, 1990, signed into law November 3, 1989: Required SSA to directly reimburse Treasury's Financial Management Services for cost of issuing Social Security checks. (Previously we reimbursed the General Fund of Treasury.)

3) P. L. 101-166, Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1990, signed November 21, 1989. Appropriated $3.5 million to SSA for SSI outreach efforts. Encouraged SSA to consider Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in disability determinations.

4) P. L. 101-201 Agent Orange Settlement Payment Exclusion, signed December 6, 1989: Provided that payments from the Agent Orange settlement were excluded as income/resources for federal programs based on need (implicitly included SSI).

5) P. L. 101-239, Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989, signed 12/19/89:

This law contained 25 provisions related to SSA or its programs. (See Appendix 1 for a complete list). Among the provisions of note was a requirement that SSA send annual Personal Earnings & Benefit Estimate Statements to virtually all persons working under Social Security. These statements (which we now call simply Social Security Statements) are the primary financial-planning tool made available by SSA. As a result of this legislation, SSA mails a Social Security Statement automatically to all workers age 25 and older. (The Statements can also be requested by any worker at any time.)

The President signed the SSA-related provisions into law as part of a massive OBRA bill, with major political issues involved, so in his signing statement he did not make specific reference to any of the SSA-related provisions.

6) P. L. 101-234 Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Repeal Act of 1989, signed December 31, 1989: Repealed Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act. Impact on SSA was the need to re-program our computer systems and to respond to public inquiries.

7) P. L. 101-336, Americans With Disability Act of 1990, signed July 26, 1990: Major social policy legislation, but with no specific impacts on Social Security or SSA. (Federal agencies covered under ADA-like rules since 1973.)

8) P. L. 101-509, Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government Appropriations Act, 1991, signed November 5, 1990: Raised the pay of SSA's Administration Law Judges.

9) P. L. 101-517, Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1991, signed November 5, 1990: Directed SSA to do more study and training on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

10) P. L. 101-508, Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, signed November 5, 1990:

This was an important bill, primarily for the large number of small provisions it contained relating to SSA's programs. Most of the provisions could be characterized as "administrative" rather than major policy changes. The most significant policy change mandatorily extended Social Security coverage to State and local government employees not covered by a retirement plan (this affected 2.4 million individuals). The law also established permanent authority to continue paying benefits during appeal of disability cessation decisions; introduced various work incentive and vocational rehabilitation provisions for disability recipients; and added several provisions relating to representative payees. (See the Appendix 2 for a complete list of the provisions.)

One significant feature of this bill was that it explicitly removed Social Security from the budget deficit calculations under Gramm-Rudman-Hollings. (Prior legislation had made Social Security off-budget for all purposes other than budget deficit calculations.) This change was also significant because, under the prior law, although the Social Security program was not subject to G-R-H sequesters, it was out of order to propose legislation (even in the Social Security area) that had the effect of violating the G-R-H limits. This may be one of the reasons why few Social Security changes were forthcoming prior to this bill.

Again, because this was an Omnibus bill, the President did not mention any of the programmatic provisions in his signing statement, although he did make a one-sentence mention of taking Social Security off-budget. (1)

11) P. L. 101-524, Deceptive Mailings Prevention Act of 1989, signed November 6, 1990: Provided that any solicitation by a non-governmental agency for purchase or payment of a product or service that implies any Federal Government connection or approval may not be carried or delivered by the Postal Service unless it contains a conspicuous disclaimer of Government endorsement.

12) P. L. 101-579, Chief Financial Officer's Act of 1990, signed November 15, 1990: Required all federal agencies to appoint a Chief Financial Officer and to improve financial reporting systems.

13) P. L. 101-624, Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, signed November 28, 1990: Requires SSA to take applications for food stamps as part of SSI process; establishes audits and studies of same; and requires report of SSNs of various providers and participants in Dept. of Agriculture food programs.

14) P. L. 102-164, Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 1991, signed November 15, 1991: Requires SSA to provide Dept. of Education with address information from our files for students with delinquent student loans.

15) P. L. 102-170, Depts. of Labor, HHS, Education & Related Agencies Appropriations Act, signed November 26, 1991: This appropriation bill provided $6 million for SSI outreach and encouraged SSA to undertake additional outreach activities and expressed concern that SSA employ bilingual staff to meet the needs of non-English speaking clients.

16) P. L. 102-171, Aroostook Band of Micmacs Settlement Act, signed November 26, 1991: Excludes for SSI purposes State payments to this band of Native Americans.

17) P. L. 102-227, Tax Extension Act of 1991, signed December 11, 1991: Extended for six months exclusions under the tax code for employer-provided educational and legal assistance. (Not to be counted for Social Security purposes for six additional months.)

18) P. L. 102-375, Older Americans Act Amendments of 1992, signed September 30, 1992: Expresses "Sense of Congress" that next White House Conference on Aging should consider impact of the Retirement Earnings Test.

19) P. L. 102-393, Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations Act, FY 1993, signed October 6, 1992: Established a Commission on the Social Security Notch.

20) P. L. 102-394, Departments of Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, FY 1993, signed October 6, 1992: Directs SSA to provide a report to Congress on its computer modernization efforts; directs SSA to put more emphasis on improving working conditions for employees in certain buildings; directs SSA to install telephone devices for the deaf in local offices; requests more study of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; urges SSA to address the need for bi-lingual employees and services (especially to the Spanish-speaking).

21) P. L. 102-486, Energy Policy Act of 1992, signed October 24, 1992: Makes changes in employer-provided health benefit programs for coal miners and requires SSA to do most of the administrative work in implementing the changes.

22) P. L. 102-550, Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, signed October 28, 1992: Prohibits reduction or termination of SSI benefits because of in-kind support and maintenance provided under certain demonstration projects for the homeless.

Other Events of Note-

Court Case: Sullivan vs. Zebley
The Supreme Court decision in this case had major administrative and policy impacts on SSA. This case changed how SSA evaluates disability in children (under the SSI program). Not only did it force SSA to reopen and re-adjudicate over 316,000 cases, it set in motion a whole series of policy impacts which continued to make the area of childhood disability a problem area for SSA well into the late 1990s.

Totalization Agreements
There were three Totalization Agreements entered into with foreign nations during the Bush Administration. These agreements govern the way that credit for work under the Social Security systems of the U.S. and foreign nations is to be reconciled in order to prevent workers in the two nations from being "double-taxed" for Social Security. Agreements were signed with Austria; Finland and Luxembourg.

The President Files for Social Security & Medicare-
On January 6, 1993 Brian T. Jones, a supervisor at SSA's M-Street District Office in Washington, D.C., went to the Oval Office where he took an application for Social Security and Medicare from President Bush. Brian said of the experience, "It was the chance of a lifetime, and the height of my career as a Social Security employee."

Photo of President Bush filing his own claim for Social Security and Medicare

On January 6, 1993 Brian T. Jones, a supervisor at SSA's M-Street District Office in Washington, D.C., went to the Oval Office where he took an application for Social Security and Medicare from President Bush. Brian said of the experience, "It was the chance of a lifetime, and the height of my career as a Social Security employee." Photo by courtesy of Brian Jones.

Chronology of the Period-
March 10, 1989 Louis W. Sullivan became Secretary of Health and Human Services.
August 1, 1989 Gwendolyn S. King became Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, serving until October 1992.
October 24, 1989 The Baltimore Mega-Site Teleservice Center was officially opened in the Metro West facility in downtown Baltimore. More than 500 employees work at the TSC answering calls to SSA's new nationwide 800 number.
December 19, 1989 President Bush signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989.
February 20, 1990 The Supreme Court held in "Sullivan vs Zebley" that substantial parts of the SSI regulation on determining disability for children are inconsistent with the Social Security Act.
November 5, 1990 President Bush signed Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990.
April 1, 1991 Child care center opened in the Metro West Building in downtown Baltimore.
April 19, 1991 Louis D. Enoff became SSA's first Principal Deputy Commissioner.
September 1991 SSA's second strategic plan (The Social Security Strategic Plan: A Framework for the Future) is published.
January 1992 Child Care Center opened in the Operations Building at the Woodlawn complex.
August 19, 1992 Report of the Experts of the Supplemental Security Income Modernization Project is published.
October 1, 1992 Louis D. Enoff named Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, he served in this capacity until July 18, 1993.

Appendix 1: Detailed Provisions of the 1989 OBRA Law


  • Eliminate the special dependency tests for child's insurance benefits in the case of children who are adopted before age 18 by retired or disabled beneficiaries.
  • Extend for 1 additional year (through 1990) the present temporary provision that allows persons who appeal a cessation decision following a continuing disability review (CDR) to continue to receive benefits through the reconsideration and the ALJ decision.
  • Extend, for 3 years, through June 10, 1993, the authority to waive compliance with Social Security and Medicare benefit requirements to conduct work incentive demonstration projects.
  • Authorize the correction of earnings records at any time if an amount of wages reported by an employer is less than the correct amount.
  • Provide an exemption from Social Security coverage and taxes for employees who are members of religious sects opposed to coverage if the employer is either a partnership and each partner is also a sect member or a church or church-controlled organization which elected to be exempt from FICA taxes.
  • Prohibit termination of coverage of U.S. citizens and residents employed abroad by a foreign affiliate of an American employer.
  • Eliminate the "carryover" reduction in retirement and disability benefits due to receipt of reduced widow(er)s benefits prior to age 62.
  • When fully effective (1999), require that annual earnings and benefit statements be sent to all contributors.
  • Increase the contribution and benefit base for 1990 to $51,300--2 percent more than estimated under present law--to take account of the rise in average wages that has occurred because of the 1983 extension of Social Security coverage to certain "deferred compensation" (e.g., income tax deferred contributions to certain retirement plans under 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code).
  • This Act also includes a number of tax-related changes with relatively minor impact on the Social Security program.


  • In making specified determinations of good cause, fault, and good faith for Social Security purposes, require the Secretary to take into account any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitations that the individual has.
  • Provide notices in various forms (e.g., telephone call, certified mail) for blind Social Security applicants and beneficiaries who elect alternative notice (already provided in SSI program). Also, require the Secretary to report on the Social Security Administration's procedures for issuing notices in languages other than English and reasonable options for expanding this practice.
  • Require the Secretary to maintain an up-to-date electronic record, accessible to SSA field offices through the agency's computer system, of the identities of persons representing Social Security and SSI claimants. In addition, require the Secretary to include in benefit denial notices information on options for obtaining attorneys to represent the individual's interests before the Agency.
  • When an individual can demonstrate that he or she failed to file for Social Security benefits as a result of misinformation concerning eligibility provided by SSA, deem the individual to have applied on the later of (1) the date the incorrect information was provided, or (2) the date the individual met all the requirements for entitlement.
  • When an individual who visits an SSA field office in response to a time-limited notice for action sent by SSA or due to a missing check, requires that SSA give a face-to-face interview that same business day.


  • Direct SSA to conduct an ongoing program of outreach to children potentially eligible for SSI on the basis of disability or blindness.
  • Permit certain disabled children who would be ineligible for SSI because of deemed parental income or resources but who receive Medicaid coverage under State home care plans to receive the $30 monthly personal needs allowance that would be payable if the children were institutionalized, without regard to their parents' incomes and resources.
  • Continue SSI eligibility for children of U.S. Armed Forces' personnel who are U.S. citizens and who live with their parents who are on permanent duty assignments outside the United States, Puerto Rico, and the territories and possessions of the United States.
  • Exclude the value of tickets for domestic travel from income if the tickets are used and not converted to cash.
  • Exclude from income and resources for SSI purposes, interest and accruals on the value of agreements to purchase burial spaces that are excluded from resources.
  • A married couple would be treated as separated for SSI purposes beginning with the first month after the month of separation, rather than after the sixth month as under present law.
  • Bar the Secretary from establishing limits (such as the regulatory $6,000/6-percent rule) on the value of property used in a trade or business or as an employee (including the tools of a trades person and the machinery and livestock of a farmer) which would be excludable as property essential to self-support.
  • Exclude from income and resources for SSI, payments from a settlement fund set up pursuant to the Agent Orange liability litigation. (Explicitly included SSI.)


  • Provide the option to purchase Medicare coverage during specified enrollment periods to individuals under age 65 who are no longer entitled to Social Security disability benefits and Medicare coverage because their earnings exceeded the substantial gainful activity level, but who continue to be disabled.
  • Require the State Medicaid programs to pay, on a sliding scale, the Medicare Part A premiums for disabled individuals (1) who are eligible to purchase Medicare protection under the above provision, (2) whose income, as determined under the SSI program, does not exceed 200 percent of the official poverty line, and (3) whose resources, as determined under the SSI rules, do not exceed twice the SSI resource limits.

Appendix 2: Detailed Provisions of the 1990 OBRA Law

State and Local Coverage -
Extends OASDI coverage to most State and local government employees not participating in a public employee retirement system. The provision does not apply to students employed by the educational institution that they attend.
Effective date: July 1991.

Continuation of Disability Benefits During Appeal -
Provides permanent authority for disability beneficiaries to elect to have their disability benefits and Medicare protection continued through the hearing level of appeal in medical cessation cases.

Definition of Disability for Widow(er)s -
Applies to disabled widow(er)s the same definition of disability that applies to disabled workers. Continues Medicaid eligibility for individuals who lose their SSI eligibility in qualifying for Social Security benefits and facilitates their qualifying for Medicare.
Effective date: January 1991.

Adopted Child-
Modifies dependency requirements to permit a child adopted by a worker's surviving spouse to be entitled to benefits if the child was either living with or receiving one-half support from the worker at the time of the worker's death.
Effective date: January 1991.

Representative Payees -
Sets requirements concerning the investigation of potential payees, standards for determining the fitness of potential payees, and the compiling and maintaining of relevant files. Also: -generally limits the deferral or suspension of direct payment of benefits pending selection of a payee to 1 month. (Effective date: July 1991); -allows certain nonprofit social service agencies to charge beneficiaries a limited fee for providing payee services (Effective date: July 1991); and -requires SSA to repay to the beneficiary or to an alternate payee an amount equal to any funds that were misused as a result of SSA's negligent failure to investigate or monitor a representative payee (Effective date: November 1990).

Attorney Fee Process -
Streamlines the process for approving fees charged by persons representing claimants before the agency in claims involving past-due benefits. Requires the Secretary to approve a written agreement between a claimant and attorney if the fee specified does not exceed the lesser of 25 percent of past-due benefits or $4,000.
Effective date: July 1,1991. Also, limits reimbursement for claimants' representatives' travel expenses to the maximum amount allowable for travel originating within the geographic area of the office having jurisdiction over the administrative proceedings. Effective date: April 1991.

Administrative Res Judicata -
Provides that, if a claimant for Social Security or SSI benefits does not appeal an adverse initial or reconsideration determination timely, but instead relies in good faith on incorrect, incomplete, or misleading information provided by SSA and files a new application, the new application may not be denied on the basis that the claimant did not timely appeal the earlier determination. Also, requires SSA to describe, in adverse determination notices, the effect on possible entitlement of choosing to reapply instead of appealing. Effective dare: July 1991.

Teleservice Center -
Requires demonstration projects in at least three teleservice centers under which a written receipt must be provided to callers to SSA's toll-free telephone number who request information about potential or current eligibility or entitlement to benefits. Requires that the projects begin by May 4, 1991 and last 1 to 3 years. Requires the Secretary to report to Congress on the projects 90 days after their termination.

Social Security Notices -
Requires Social Security notices issued on or after July 1, 1991, to be written in clear and simple language and to contain the address and telephone number of the local office that serves the individual. If the notice is not produced in a local office, it must include the address of the local office serving the individual and a telephone number through which that office can be reached.

Telephone Access -
Requires SSA to restore telephone access to local Social Security offices to the level generally available as of September 30, 1989, and to request the publication, in telephone directories, of telephone numbers and addresses of local offices that provide direct telephone access by May 4, 1991. Requires the Secretary to report to Congress by January 1, 1993, on the impact of the provision on SSA and to present a plan to use new technologies to enhance access to SSA, including local offices. Requires the General Accounting Office to report on the level of telephone access to local offices not later than March 5, 1991 (interim report) and June 3, 1991 (final report).

Social Security Account Statements -
Requires SSA to begin sending annual statements of earnings
and potential benefits to all workers by October 1, 1999. (Prior law had required statements every 2 years beginning in October 1999.)

Trial Work Period (TWP) During Rolling 5-Year Period for All Disabled Beneficiaries -
Provides that a disabled beneficiary's trial work period shall continue until he performs services in 9 months of any period of 60 consecutive months. Also, provides a TWP for reentitled disabled workers. Effective date: January 1992.

Continuation of Benefits on Account of Participation in a Non-State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program Gives DI and SSI beneficiaries who medically recover while they are participating in an approved non-State VR program the same benefit continuation rights as those who medically recover while they are participating in a State VR program. Effective date: November 5, 1993.

Limitation on New Entitlement to Special Age-72 Payments -
Precludes entitlement to "Prouty benefits" for people reaching age 72 after 1990 who otherwise would meet the requirements for these benefits.
Effective date: November 1990.

Modification of Advance Tax Transfer -
Provides for crediting the trust funds with Social Security tax receipts as they are collected, rather than crediting them in advance on the first day of each month. Advance tax transfers would be available, however, if benefits otherwise could not be paid on time. Effective date: December 1990.

Retroactive Reduced Benefits -
Eliminates retroactive reduced benefits in order to charge off any excess earnings under the retirement earnings test in the year of filing and in Cases where unreduced auxiliary benefits are payable. Effective date: January 1991.

Old Computations -
Eliminates and consolidates old, little-used computation methods. Effective date: June 1992.

Auxiliary Benefits -
Codifies SSA policy for suspending benefits to auxiliaries when a disabled worker's benefits are suspended because he is engaging in substantial gainful activity during the 36-month "extended period of eligibility" that follows the trial work period.
Effective date: December 1990.

Deemed Spouse -
Provides benefits for a deemed spouse, a person who entered into an invalid ceremonial marriage in good faith, regardless of whether a legal spouse is entitled to benefits on the same earnings. Where both a deemed spouse and a legal spouse are entitled to benefits, the legal spouse will be paid outside the maximum family benefit.
Effective date: January 1991.

VR Demonstration Projects -
Requires the Secretary to conduct demonstration projects, running for 3 years in at least three States, to assess the advantages and disadvantages of permitting disabled beneficiaries to choose among qualified public or private providers to furnish them with rehabilitation services.
Effective date: November 1, 1990.

Legalized Aliens (Exempt From Prosecution) -
Exempts aliens legalized under specified statutes from prosecution for having furnished false information about their earnings or having misused a Social Security card before January 4, 1991. The exception does not apply to anyone involved in the production and sale of a Social Security card.

Reduction in Earnings Needed for a Year of Coverage Toward the Special Minimum Benefit -
Reduces the amount of coverage toward the special minimum benefit (designed to assist long-term, low-wage workers) from 25 percent of the old-law contribution and benefit base ($9,900) to 15 percent of that base ($5,940). Effective date: January 1991.

Treatment of Earnings of Corporate Directors -
Treats directors' earning as taxable and creditable for Social Security purposes for the year the earnings are received. Directors' earnings continue to be treated as earned in the year the services are performed for purposes of the Social Security retirement test. Effective date: January 1991.

Collection of Employee Social Security and Railroad Retirement Taxes on Taxable Group-Term Life Insurance Provided to Former Employees-
Requires a person whose former employer continues to provide taxable group-term life insurance to pay the employee portion of FICA tax. Effective date: January 1991.

Waive 2-Year Waiting Period -
Eliminates the 2-year waiting period for entitlement to divorced spouse's benefits without regard to the worker's earnings if the worker was entitled to benefits before the divorce. Effective date: January 1991,

Preeffectuation Review -
Changes the requirements for reviewing disability determinations prior to final action from a 65-percent review of favorable determinations by State agencies to a 50-percent review of OASDI allowances and a review of a sufficient number of other favorable determinations to ensure a high degree of accuracy. Requires annual reports to appropriate congressional committees beginning by April 1, 1992.
Effective date: October 1990.

Recovery of OASDI Overpayments by Means of Reduction in Tax Refunds -
Permits the recovery of overpayments from former SSA beneficiaries by means of offsetting income tax refunds under the same authority applicable to other Federal programs (which expires January 10, 1994). Effective date: January 1991.

Statement of Actuarial Balance -
Requires that the annual OASDI trustees report include a finding as to whether the trust funds are in close actuarial balance, as defined by the trustees.

Attainment of Age 65 Not To Serve as Termination of Eligibility Under Section 1619(b) -
Eliminates the age 65 limit for Medicaid-only eligibility under the section 16 19(b) work incentive provision for individuals whose SSI eligibility is based on a determination of disability or blindness. Effective date: May 1991.

Treatment of Royalties and Honoraria as Earned Income -
Treats royalties earned in connection with the publication of an individual's work and any honoraria received for services rendered as earned, rather than unearned, income for purposes of SSI eligibility and benefit determinations. Effective date: December 1991.

Exclusion from Income and Resources of Victims' Compensation Payments-
Excludes from income payments received from a State-established fund to aid victims of crime. Also, excludes these payments from resources for 9 months after the month they are received if the recipient shows that they were paid as compensation for expenses incurred or losses suffered as a result of a crime. In addition, a person may not be denied SSI benefits for refusing to accept victims' compensation payments. Effective date: May I, 1991.

Exclusion from Income of Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE) -
Provides for excluding IRWE from income in determining initial eligibility for SSI benefits and State supplementary payments. (IRWE previously were excluded only in determining benefit amounts, substantial gainful activity, and continuing eligibility.) Effective date: December 1990.

Certain State Relocation Assistance Excluded From SSI Income and Resources -
Excludes from income payments received as State or local government relocation assistance. These payments also are excluded from resources for 9 months after the month they are received. The provision expires in April 1994.
Effective date: May 1991.

Evaluation of Children's Disabilities by a Pediatrician or Other Qualified Specialist -
Requires the Secretary to make reasonable efforts to ensure that a child's disability is evaluated by a qualified pediatrician or other specialist in a field of medicine appropriate to the child's disability.
Effective date: April 1991.

Reimbursement for VR Services Furnished During Certain Months of Nonpayment of SSI Benefits-
Authorizes reimbursement for VR services provided in months for which individuals were not receiving Federal SSI benefits but were in "special status" under section 1619(b) or suspended benefit status or were receiving federally administered State supplementary payments. Effective date: November 5, 1990.

Extension of Period for Presumptive Eligibility for Benefits -
Extends from 3 to 6 months the period for which benefits may be paid on the basis of presumptive disability or blindness pending a final determination. Effective date: May 1991.

Continuing Disability Reviews Not Required More Than Once Annually -
Limits continuing disability reviews for purpose of the work incentive provisions of section 1619 to no more than one in any 12-month period. Effective date: November 5, 1990.

Concurrent SSI and Food Stamp Applications by Institutionalized Individuals -
Provides that the Secretaries of HHS and Agriculture shall develop a procedure under which an individual about to be released from a public institution who applies for SSI may also apply for benefits under the food stamp program, using a separate but concurrent application. Effective date: November 5, 1990.

Notification of Certain Individuals Eligible To Retroactive Benefits -
Requires the Secretary, when notifying individuals eligible under Zebley (a Supreme Court decision that requires SSA to reopen many previously denied childhood disability determinations and that may result in large retroactive SSI payments), to provide a clearly written notice explaining (1) that retroactive SSI payments are excluded from resources under SSI for only 6 months; (2) the potential effects under SSI of receiving retroactive payments; (3) the possibility of establishing a trust account that would not be considered as income or resources under SSI; and (4) that legal assistance in establishing such a trust may be available from various legal referral services.
Effective date: November 5, 1990.

The Social Security Trust Funds and the Budget Process -
Explicitly removes the Social Security funds from deficit calculations for Gramm-Rudman-Hollings purposes. Also includes many changes in the congressional budget process and provisions designed to enforce deficit reduction targets.
Effective date: Fiscal Year 1991.

Payroll Tax Deposit Schedule-
Accelerates the deposit schedule beginning in 1991 for employers whose withheld Social Security and income taxes total $100,000 or more as set by regulations.

Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) -
For taxable years beginning 1991, reduces from 2 years to 1 year the age at which a TIN--usually a Social Security number (SSN)--must be shown for a dependent claimed on an income tax return.

Tax and Earnings Verification for Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits -
Allows Social Security and IRS data to be used to verify income for applicants or recipients of specified DVA benefits after notifying them of such use
. Effective date: November 1990.

SSN USE and Death Notification for DVA -
Requires those applicants for or recipients of DVA compensation or pension benefits who have SSNs to furnish those numbers at the request of DVA. Also requires DVA to periodically check HHS death information with respect to DVA beneficiaries. Effective date: November 1990.

Modifications of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) -
Increases EITC rates and excludes tax refunds and payments from employers related to EITCs from income in the month of receipt and from resources in the month following the month of receipt under the SSI, AFDC, Medicaid, and food stamp programs. Effective date: January 1991.

Increase the Hospital Insurance (HI) Contribution Base -
Increases the amount of earnings subject to the HI tax to $125,000 for 1991, with automatic adjustments as wages rise thereafter. (The OASDI contribution base for 1991 is $53,400.)

Increase Part B Premium -
Increases the Supplementary Medical Insurance premium to $29.90 in 1991, $31.80 in 1992, $36.60 in 1993, $41.10 in 1994, and $46.10 in 1995.

Debt Limit Increase -
Increases the permanent statutory debt limit from $3.123 trillion to $4.145 trillion, which is expected to accommodate the Federal Government's borrowing needs through the first few months of 1992.

1. "Social Security is fully protected and taken off-budget."

Larry DeWitt
SSA Historian's Office
February 2002