Social Security:

Employment and Health Status of Social Security Denied Applicants

T-HRD-90-48: Published: Jul 17, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1990.

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GAO discussed the health and financial status of denied social security disability applicants and commented on the disability determination process. GAO noted that: (1) in 1987, 58 percent of the applicants who were denied benefits in 1984 were not working; (2) over two-thirds of the nonworking had been out of work for at least 3 years, and 54 percent said they did not expect to ever work again; (3) the denied applicants who were not working generally cited poor health, and the self-reported health status of nonworking denied applicants resembled that of allowed applicants; (4) those findings raised some questions about the accuracy of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) disability criteria and determination process in judging an applicant's ability to work; (5) the determinations of claimants' residual function capacity may be causing problems in disability adjudication; (6) budgetary constraints imposed on the disability determination services during the last few years may have adversely impacted the quality of state disability decisions; and (7) the increase in error rates appears to support concerns raised by states about the impact of resource reductions on their case development.

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