Supplemental Security Income Program Removed
from High-Risk List
General Accounting Office
Recognizes Improvements in Program Management
Today, the General Accounting Office (GAO) announced it removed
the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program from its high-risk
list. In doing so, GAO recognized the Social Security Administrationís
(SSAís) 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 GAOís favorable decision."
The GAO report states that "SSA has made sufficient progress
in improving SSIís 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
establishing cross-agency Cooperative Disability Investigation
teams lead by SSAís Inspector General
developing program simplification initiatives
SSI is the nationís 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
"I agree with GAOís assessment that SSA must remain vigilant
on issues of program integrity," said Commissioner Barnhart.
"Iím 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."
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information and statistics,
are available at SSAs Internet site, Social Security
Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.
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SSA Press Office 449
Altmeyer Bldg. 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973