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Supplemental Security Income: SSA Has Taken Steps to Prevent and Detect Overpayments, but Additionl Actions Could Be Taken to Improve Oversight
Daniel Bertoni (au)
The Social Security Admin.'s (SSA) Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) provides cash assistance for eligible aged, blind, and disabled individuals with limited financial means. In FY 2011, the SSI program paid about $46 billion in benefits to approximately 9 million beneficiaries. The program has grown substantially in recent years, and is expected to grow more in the near future, placing added pressure on already stretched federal budgets. Given the size of the SSI program, even small errors in benefit payments can result in a significant loss of taxpayer dollars, and financial hardships for individuals of limited means who have to repay the overpayment. In FY 2010, SSA reported that overpayments to program recipients exceeded $3.3 billion. Agency data also showed that the amount of SSI debt recovered was less than half the amount of new debt detected. Given the importance of verifying the continued eligibility of SSI recipients, and identifying and recovering potential SSI benefit overpayments, this report examined the extent to which SSA makes overpayments to and recovers overpayments from SSI beneficiaries. Specifically, it answes the following questions: (1) What are the major factors associated with SSI overpayments, and what actions has SSA taken to address them? and (2) What is known about SSA's recovery of overpayments from SSI recipients, including those not currently receiving SSI payments? Figures. This is a print on demand report.
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