Supplemental Security Income Quarterly Accounting Period for Determining Eligibility and Benefit Payment Accounts

HRD-78-114: Published: May 26, 1978. Publicly Released: May 26, 1978.

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Pending legislation contains a provision requiring that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility and benefit payment amounts be determined on a monthly rather than a quarterly basis. The Senate Committee on Finance, in its consideration of the bill, is requiring the Social Security Administration to experiment with various accounting periods and reporting methodologies. Quarterly computation was established to minimize changes in the monthly benefit payments caused by income variations, but this has not happened, and erroneous payments are being made because of frequent variations which are not anticipated before the computation is made. The prospective quarterly accounting period also causes administrative problems in processing overpayments. Many of the problems associated with the prospective quarterly accounting methodology can be resolved if benefits are determined on a retrospective monthly basis, with a 1-month lag between the month used for eligibility determinations and benefit calculations and the month in which payments are made to recipients. The Social Security Act should be amended accordingly with provisions to prevent recipients from initially being paid less when converting to the new accounting method.

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