Social Security Disability:
SSA Is Making Progress Toward Eliminating Continuing Disability Review Backlogs
T-HEHS-97-222, Sep 25, 1997
GAO discussed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) plan to eliminate the backlog of continuing disability reviews (CDRs) in the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, focusing on: (1) SSA's progress toward achieving its current 7-year plan cost-effectively and on schedule; (2) SSA's spending rate; and (3) the status of selection formulas needed to meet future goals.
GAO noted that: (1) SSA's experience in CDRs during fiscal year 1997 is encouraging; (2) for 1997, SSA expects to meet or exceed its goal to conduct 603,000 CDRs; (3) for 1998, SSA is planning to increase its goal because it was able to meet its 1997 goal, while also processing at least 235,000 SSI childhood eligibility redeterminations; (4) reviewing more cases sooner than planned, to the extent possible, is clearly desirable because of the high costs--in taxpayer dollars and program integrity--of continuing benefits to those who are no longer eligible; (5) in addition, SSA's spending to date and estimates of future processing costs suggest that it will be able to complete its current 7-year plan with the funds the Congress has authorized, although its revised plan will not be available until November 1997; and (6) key issues, however, such as deciding which beneficiaries should undergo a full medical review--a lengthy and costly process--are still unresolved but will determine how quickly and at what cost SSA can become current on its CDR workload.