Summaries of Legislation of the 104th Congress With Provisions Affecting Social Security:
- P.L. 104-208 (H.R. 3610), An Act making omnibus consolidated
appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1997,
and for other purposes (also referred to as the Omnibus
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997), was signed into law on
September 30, 1996. This omnibus budget bill contains SSA’s
FY 1997 appropriations. It also includes the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 that, among other things, made several SSI eligibility changes
for non-citizens, imposed requirements for birth certificates and drivers’ licenses used for identification, and required SSA actions relating to the Social Security Card.
Previous actions: 05/02/96
- On September 17, 1996, the House passed H.R. 4039, the Social Security Miscellaneous Amendments Act of 1996. The bill would make several clarifying and correcting amendments to the disability program. The Senate took no action on this bill.
- P.L. 104-193 (H.R. 3734), the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, was signed into law on August 22, 1996. Among the many provisions of interest to SSA are ones that prohibit SSI eligibility for noncitizens with several exceptions; generally deem all of a sponsor’s income and resources to a newly-sponsored noncitizen until naturalization or the crediting of 40 quarters of coverage; change SSI eligibility based on childhood disability, defining such disability as having a medically determinable impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations and can be expected to result in death or has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months; direct SSA to eliminate references to maladaptive behavior in the childhood Listings and discontinue the use of an individualized functional assessment in evaluating a child’s disability; require CDRs once every 3 years for recipients under age 18 with non-permanent impairments and not later than 12 months after birth for low-birth weight babies; require a disability redetermination using the adult initial eligibility criteria during the 1-year period beginning on a recipient’s 18th birthday; authorize additional funds for CDRs and redeterminations; provide for incentive payments to State and local penal institutions for furnishing information that results in suspension of SSI benefits; make SSI applications effective no earlier than the month following the month of filing; limit to no more than $30 a month cash payments to children who are in an institution receiving medical care covered by private insurance; establish a schedule for paying retroactive SSI payments that exceed 12 times the monthly FBR; require dedicated savings accounts that could only be used for limited things to maintain retroactive SSI benefits that exceed 6 times the FBR for blind or disabled children; deny SSI benefits to fugitive felons; require an annual report on the SSI program; and require SSA to develop a counterfeit-resistant prototype Social Security card and to study and report on that and other ways to improve the card application process.
- P.L. 104-188 (H.R. 3448), the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 and the Minimum Wage Increase Act of 1996 was signed into law on August 20, 1996. Among items of interest to SSA, the law made changes in coverage and tax treatment of certain wages.
- Previous action: 07/30/96
- On May 2, 1996, the Senate passed H.R. 2202, the Immigration Control and Financial Responsibility Act of 1996, replacing the text of the House-passed version with that of S 1664, as amended. S 1664 had incorporated S 269. Subsequently, a conference was held to reconcile the differences; the House passed a conference report (09/25/96), but the Senate did not. The bill proposed a number of SSI eligibility changes for non-citizens, requirements for birth certificates and drivers’ licenses used for identification, and SSA action on the Social Security card. Some non-citizen SSI eligibility changes were later included in P.L. 103-196 and other non-citizen SSI eligibility changes and document requirements were included in P.L. 104-208.
- P.L. 104-134 (H.R. 3019), the Omnibus Consolidated Recissions and Appropriations Act of 1996, was signed into law on April 26, 1996. This act provides appropriations for the remainder of FY 1996 for SSA (including additional funding for processing CDRs as authorized by P.L. 104-121). The law also gives SSA and other Federal agencies permanent debt collection authority, and it requires recurring Federal payments (including Social Security and SSI benefits) to be paid by electronic funds transfer.
- P.L. 104-121 (H.R. 3136), the Contract With America Advancement Act of 1996, was signed into law on March 29, 1996. This law contains the Senior Citizen’s Right to Work Act of 1996 and the Small Business Growth and Fairness Act of 1996. Of particular interest to SSA are provisions that deny Social Security and SSI disability benefits based on drug addiction or alcoholism; authorize additional funding for CDRs and disability redeterminations for FYs 1996-2002; and require annual reports to Congress on CDRs. In addition, the law gradually increases the retirement earnings test annual exempt amount to $30,000 by 2002 and indexes it thereafter; and imposes limits on the investment of trust fund monies.
- P.L. 104-103 (H.R. 2924), An Act to guarantee the timely payment of Social Security benefits in March 1996, was signed into law on February 8, 1996. The law provided the Secretary of Treasury authority through March 15 to issue obligations of the United States equal to the aggregate monthly Social Security benefit payable in March 1996.
- On January 9, 1996, the President vetoed H.R. 4, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1995. The House had agreed to the conference report on December 21, 1995, and the Senate agreed to the conference report on December 22, 1995, by which time the President had already stated his intention to veto the bill.
- On December 6, 1995, the President vetoed H.R. 2491, the Balanced Budget Act of 1995. The Senate had receded from its amendment and concurred with further amendment to the Conference report on 11/17/95, and the House agreed to the Senate amendment to the Conference report and cleared the bill for the White House on 11/20/95, with the bill presented to the President on 11/30/95. Also included was H.R. 2425, the Medicare Preservation Act of 1995, previously passed by the House.
- On September 14, 1995, the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, reported without amendment HR 1802, the Reorganization of the Federal Administrative Judiciary Act. The bill would establish an independent administrative law judge (ALJ) corp.
- On April 5, 1995, the House passed H.R. 1215, the Tax Fairness and Deficit Reduction Act of 1995 that incorporated the Contract With American Tax Relief Act of 1995. As passed by the House, the bill would repeal the 1993 increase in tax on Social Security benefits gradually over 4 years and would increase the retirement earnings limit over 15 years.
- Previous actions: 03/13/95
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