Telephone Wage Reporting

Background

Changes in the amount of wages an SSI beneficiary or others in the household receive may affect the beneficiary’s payment amount or eligibility.  SSI beneficiaries must report their own wages and the wages of others in the household whose incomes we consider in determining the SSI payments.

Stewardship data indicate wage-related overpayment dollars result from fluctuating income and failure to timely report an increase in wages.  We created the SSI Telephone Wage Reporting (SSITWR) system to make the wage reporting process easier for both beneficiaries and our employees.  Through SSITWR, individuals call a dedicated toll-free telephone number to report wages via a voice-recognition system.  In May 2009, we began requiring our field offices to recruit beneficiaries, their representative payees, and household members whose wages may affect the beneficiaries’ eligibility or payment to report wages using SSITWR.  We processed over 44,000 successful SSITWR reports in September 2013, surpassing our FY 2013 goal of 38,510 monthly reports.

SSITWR is a highly accurate means for beneficiaries, payees, and deemors (i.e., an individual such as a parent or spouse whose income and resources are considered in determining an applicant’s or recipient’s eligibility and payment) to report wages.  Our most recent study, published in September 2013, indicates that the timely reporting of wages using SSITWR is an effective way to prevent improper payments.  In addition, the study found that the number of Office of Child Support and Enforcement wage alerts were reduced, which eliminates unnecessary field office work.

An extension of the SSITWR system, the SSI Mobile Wage Reporting (SSIMWR) application provides SSI beneficiaries the ability to submit their wages via their mobile smart phones.  Participants can download and use the free SSIMWR application to report wages.  Like its telephone counterpart, the mobile application automatically updates the SSI record, corrects the upcoming payment, if necessary, and issues a receipt to the individual.  In FY 2013, as part of our online services initiatives, we piloted the SSIMWR program with beneficiaries.  We also posted a webcast to promote the use of SSITWR and SSIMWR.  The pilot was successful, and we expanded SSIMWR nationally in August 2013.  We received over 5,100 successful wage reports through the smartphone application in September 2013.

Starting in FY 2014, we expanded the wage reporting period, allowing individuals to report wages at any time during the month rather than just the first six days of the month.