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.
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.