Problems in Administering Supplemental Security Income for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled

MWD-76-73: Published: Jun 11, 1976. Publicly Released: Jun 11, 1976.

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Congress established the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program to replace State programs for aiding needy, aged, blind, and disabled persons. After the program became effective, many benefit payment errors, delays, and other difficulties prompted numerous public complaints, State criticisms, and congressional inquiries about the way the Social Security Administration (SSA) was operating the new program.

SSA and State officials believed the following issues should be considered to ensure the ultimate effectiveness of the new program: (1) certain Federal eligibility and benefit criteria have proved difficult to define and apply fairly; (2) through its legislative and administrative changes, the program has evolved into a complex, variable system of benefit payments and requires both the Federal Government and the States to administer and finance it; (3) staff and other resource shortages adversely affected administration of the SSI program; (4) program marketing efforts have not increased SSI eligibility rolls to the extent projected; (5) States were concerned about the reliability of SSA accounting procedures, the correctness of the billing to the States, and payment error rate; and (6) difficulties were created by the interaction between the SSI program and Medicaid.

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