Accuracy of Benefits Paid to Supplemental Security Income Recipients

Published: Apr 11, 1979. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 1982.

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A review was made of the accuracy of benefits paid to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who also receive military retirement pensions.

GAO found that military retired pensions can reduce SSI monthly benefits dollor for dollar after the first $20. Earlier attempts by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine the number of dual benefit recipients were unsuccessful because of reluctance on the part of the Defense Manpower Data Center to provide all of its pension records until SSA adheres to guidelines issued by the Office of Management and Budget for compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974. A small sample of military pension records which the center provided to SSA did not reveal any dual benefit recipients. To determine whether a larger record sample would show erroneous SSI payments, GAO obtained the entire fiscal year 1977 retired military pension record and matched them with 1 month's SSI payment records for California and New York. GAO identified 67 SSI recipients who were overpaid an estimated $4,150 for the month examined or about $49,800 annually. Of this annual amount, $42,350 related to 31 SSI records lacking any pension information and $7,450 related to 36 SSI records with incorrect pension information. Thus, GAO concluded that limited potential savings could be realized by comparing retired military and SSI payment records.

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