The Social Security Administration's Supplemental Security Income Outreach Activities

T-HRD-90-22: Published: Apr 5, 1990. Publicly Released: Apr 5, 1990.

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GAO discussed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) efforts to inform the public about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. GAO noted that: (1) studies indicated that 35 to 50 percent of persons eligible for SSI benefits were not participating in the program; (2) frequently cited reasons for nonparticipation included elderly persons' lack of awareness of the benefits and their eligibility for the benefits; (3) Congress expressed concern regarding the SSI enrollment gap and earmarked funds for further SSI outreach; (4) SSA district managers generally believed that they conducted sufficient outreach through such activities as joint participation with other agencies in special outreach projects, training staff from other agencies to conduct SSI outreach, presentations and speeches, and visits to shelters and senior citizen centers; (5) managers varied in their perceptions of the degree to which such target populations as the elderly, blind, disabled, homeless, rural poor, and non-English speaking needed outreach; (6) advocacy groups were generally dissatisfied with the amount of SSI outreach; (7) managers who believed that they were not conducting sufficient outreach cited resource limitations; and (8) a private advocacy group's SSI outreach demonstration programs provided much useful information that SSA could use in implementing and managing its planned outreach program.

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