Recommendations Database

GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed. GAO’s priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. Below you can search only priority recommendations, or search all recommendations.

Our recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Moreover, when implemented, some of our priority recommendations can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.

As of December 2, 2021, there are 4653 open recommendations, of which 482 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

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1 - 4 of 4 Recommendations
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Payment Integrity: Selected Agencies Should Improve Efforts to Evaluate Effectiveness of Corrective Actions to Reduce Improper Payments

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Commissioner of SSA should develop and implement a process, documented in policies and procedures, to measure the effectiveness of SSA's corrective actions for OASDI and SSI improper payments. This process should clearly demonstrate the effect SSA's corrective actions have on reducing improper payments. (Recommendation 7)
Open

The Social Security Administration (SSA) agreed with this recommendation. In fiscal year 2020, SSA stated that it will determine the most cost-effective strategies to remediate the underlying causes of payment errors and monitor, measure, and revise the strategies as needed. In August 2021, SSA informed us that it continues to identify and measure the root causes of improper payments. SSA also stated that it was in the process of documenting corrective actions in multiple Improper Payment Alignment Strategies (IPAS). Further, SSA indicated that as it develops the IPASs and conducts a review of

Social Security Benefits: SSA Needs to Improve Oversight of Organizations that Manage Money for Vulnerable Beneficiaries

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should (a) establish a plan and time frame for periodically reviewing the predictive model's design; (b) consider additional data sources that would allow for additional screening or modeling of potentially high-risk organizational payees; and (c) ensure that subsequent design decisions are documented in sufficient detail so the development process can be more fully understood and replicated, either by SSA or a knowledgeable third party, with minimal further explanation. (Recommendation 5)
Open

SSA agreed with this recommendation and identified actions to address it. In April 2020, SSA officials reported that the agency is finalizing a plan to revise the existing model and would pursue other data sources to develop additional screening tools and models to identify potentially high-risk organizational payees. They also reported that they are in the early stages of re-estimating the model used to identify potentially high-risk organizational payees. In addition, agency officials noted they are finalizing a review of nursing home data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Disability Insurance: SSA Needs to Better Track Efforts and Evaluate Options to Recover Debt and Deter Potential Fraud

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To ensure effective and appropriate recovery of DI overpayments and administration of penalties and sanctions, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should adjust the minimum withholding rate to 10 percent of monthly DI benefits to allow quicker recovery of debt.
Open

SSA agreed with this recommendation and in 2017 estimated that this change would result in an additional $213 million in collections over a 5-year period. The fiscal year 2021 President's budget submission contained a legislative proposal to make this change, and budgets since 2017 have contained similar proposals. In parallel with proposed legislation, SSA reported that it can also implement the change via regulatory change, and was included in SSA's regulatory agenda in 2019 and 2020. As of August 2021, however, SSA reported that it is no longer pursuing regulatory change because of the

Disability Insurance: Actions Needed to Help Prevent Potential Overpayments to Individuals Receiving Concurrent Federal Workers' Compensation

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To improve SSA's ability to detect, prevent, and recover potential DI benefit overpayments due to the concurrent receipt of FECA benefits, the Commissioner of Social Security should strengthen internal controls designed to prevent DI overpayments due to the concurrent receipt of FECA benefits by implementing the alternative that provides the greatest net benefits.
Open

As of August 2021, SSA had taken steps to strengthen internal controls, as GAO recommended in July 2015, but it had not completed its efforts. In August 2021, SSA told GAO that it continues to meet with DOL to discuss the FECA data exchange and DOL's reimbursable authority. According to SSA, DOL informed the agency that DOL does not have the reimbursable authority to charge for this exchange. SSA shared its legal authority with DOL which it says requires any federal agency to provide SSA with information in its possession that SSA may require to reduce benefits. This includes information for

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