Social Security:

SSA Needs to Improve Service for Program Participants

T-HRD-93-11: Published: Mar 25, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1993.

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GAO discussed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) efforts to improve service to the public, focusing on: (1) long delays in processing disability claims; (2) the reduction of continuing disability reviews (CDR); and (3) SSA long-range plans to improve overall service levels. GAO noted that: (1) SSA administers the Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs with the help of state disability determination services (DDS); (2) SSA has experienced significant operational problems due to increases in benefits claims under DI and SSI programs; (3) SSA and DDS are experiencing major delays in processing disability claims as a result of increased workloads; (4) SSA has reduced the number of CDR performed and shifted these resources to processing initial claims; (5) SSA has increased DDS staffing to keep up with claims receipts; (6) SSA efforts to improve processing times included streamlining certain claims development and documentation requirements and having some DDS and SSA components process claims for DDS with large backlogs; (7) SSA has not met legal requirements for conducting CDR; (8) SSA disability programs have suffered financial losses, since ineligible beneficiaries continue to receive benefits; (9) changes affecting the way SSA serves beneficiaries in the future should await public consultation, major streamlining efforts, and completion of several aspects of the strategic plan; and (10) SSA is developing an operations service delivery plan, which is based on the strategic plan framework and identifies where and how service will be provided in the future.

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