Supplemental Security Income:

SSA Is Taking Steps to Review Recipients' Disability Status

HEHS-97-17: Published: Oct 30, 1996. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) strategy for conducting legally required continuing disability reviews (CDR) on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, focusing on: (1) SSA plans to conduct legally required SSI CDR in fiscal years 1996 through 1998; (2) the resources committed to meeting this requirement; (3) how SSA selects recipients for SSI CDR; (4) the potential benefits of conducting CDR on the SSI population; and (5) potential options for improving the CDR process.

GAO found that: (1) SSA planned to conduct required CDR on about 118,000 SSI recipients in fiscal year (FY) 1996; (2) SSA also planned to conduct an additional 100,000 CDR on SSI recipients that were not legally required; (3) as of June 1996, SSA had completed about 60 percent of the required CDR; (4) other competing priorities may make it difficult for SSA to conduct all required SSI CDR after FY 1996; (5) in FY 1996, SSA limited its selection for CDR to those recipients for whom medical improvement is either expected or possible; (6) SSA estimates that conducting CDR will result in removing only about 5 percent of SSI recipients from the rolls, but without CDR, the number of ineligible recipients will likely increase over time; (7) SSA estimates that conducting CDR on SSI adult recipients for whom medical improvement is expected or possible results in about $3 in federal program savings for every $1 spent conducting CDR; and (8) SSA needs to establish less rigid requirements for determining who should be scheduled for CDR, ensure that contact is made with all SSI recipients, and develop a legislative proposal to obtain the authority needed to extend this new process to all recipients.

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