Social Security Administration--Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Program (WIPA) and Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security Program (PABSS)
B-323433: Aug 14, 2012
Representative Sam Johnson, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security, House Committee on Ways and Means, requested a GAO opinion on the authority of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to carry out two grant programs: the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program, and the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program. GAO was asked whether the enabling statutes establishing these programs serve as necessary and sufficient legal authority for SSA to continue operating the programs, notwithstanding that the most recent authorization of appropriations for these programs expired at the end of fiscal year 2011. GAO distinguished between program enabling legislation, which enacts program authority, and a legislative authorization of appropriations. Although the authorizations of appropriations for these programs may have expired, the underlying program authority enacted in the enabling statutes has not expired, and SSA has an appropriation that is available to cover the costs of these programs. GAO concluded, therefore, that SSA has adequate authority to continue both programs.