Supplemental Security Income:

Growth and Changes in Recipient Population Call for Reexamining Program

HEHS-95-137: Published: Jul 7, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 1995.

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GAO provided information on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, focusing on the factors contributing to caseload growth and changes in the characteristics of SSI recipients.

GAO found that: (1) congressional actions and court decisions have broadened the population eligible for SSI program; (2) Congress has mandated outreach and publicity efforts to help overcome barriers to getting SSI benefits; (3) disabled recipients may stay on SSI longer and receive more benefits because the program does not verify recipients' disability or help them return to work; (4) since the mid-1980s, the number of disabled SSI recipients has increased an average of over 8 percent annually, while the number of elderly recipients has remained almost level; (5) children, noncitizens, and mentally impaired adults have accounted for almost 90 percent of SSI growth since 1991; (6) younger SSI recipients tend to stay on SSI longer and depend more on SSI as a primary source of income; (7) the SSI program should assist recipients achieve their productive capacity and decrease their dependence on SSI; and (8) increasing the number of recipients' disability reviews would help reduce payments to those who are no longer disabled.

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