GAO Views on the Methodology Used in an SSA Title II Study of Representative Payment

HRD-84-34: Published: May 18, 1984. Publicly Released: May 18, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the methodology used in a Social Security Administration (SSA) study of representative payment in its title II, Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program. In addition, GAO presented information concerning SSA implementation of a representative payee accounting system and representative payment in Federal cash benefit programs.

In evaluating the SSA study, GAO found that less than 1 percent of the representative payees, who were designated to receive funds for incapable persons, misused the beneficiaries' funds. GAO stated that the study provided reasonable information on the rate of misuse of beneficiaries' funds, although there were flaws in the study's design and implementation. Under a Federal court order to establish a mandatory periodic accounting system for representative payees, SSA has recently selected an accounting system from several options. GAO updated information on 12 Federal programs and found that no laws or procedures that materially affect representative payment programs have changed.

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