Supplemental Security Income:

Recipient Population Has Changed as Caseloads Have Burgeoned

T-HEHS-95-120: Published: Mar 27, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 27, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, focusing on: (1) factors contributing to caseload growth; (2) how the characteristics of SSI recipients have changed; and (3) ways to improve SSI. GAO noted that: (1) the major factors contributing to program growth include eligibility expansions, outreach, limited emphasis on return to work, and immigration; (2) the number of disabled SSI recipients has increased over 8 percent annually since 1986 and the disabled now receive nearly 80 percent of federal SSI payments; (3) adults with mental impairments, children, and noncitizens have accounted for nearly 90 percent of SSI growth since 1991; (4) SSI recipients now tend to be younger and depend more on SSI as a primary source of income; and (5) SSI could be improved by increasing current recipients' disability reviews and placing more emphasis on rehabilitation, employment assistance, and work incentives.

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