The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued a report today that showed from 2006 through 2010, SSA awarded approximately $93 million in grant funds to 103 work incentives planning and assistance (WIPA) grantees, yet the Agency was unable to determine how many beneficiaries actually received WIPA services during this period.
The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 required that SSA award cooperative agreements (or grants) to community-based organizations to disseminate accurate information to Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities about work incentive programs and issues related to such programs to assist them in their employment efforts.
SSA was unable to determine how many beneficiaries were enrolled in WIPA because the data grantees reported on the beneficiaries were inconsistent and, thus, unreliable. SSA then implemented a centralized database to track and monitor beneficiary information. During the 6-month period beginning in October 2009, 12,574 beneficiaries enrolled in WIPA; however, the Inspector General found that only 95 percent were actually eligible. The remaining five percent of enrollees were not eligible because they had either missing or invalid Social Security numbers, were not receiving benefits, or were deceased.
Also, it was unclear whether grantees were meeting the objectives of WIPA, because SSA had not established clearly defined, measurable performance goals. The Agency only required that each grantee provide direct WIPA services to beneficiaries who lived in designated areas grantees served, but did not designate a goal for the number of beneficiaries to be enrolled by each grantee. This contributed to a significant variation in the number of beneficiaries each grantee enrolled, ranging from 24 to 1,194 beneficiaries. As a result, the per-enrollee cost varied significantly among the 103 grantees, ranging from $138 to $5,230.
The Inspector General recommended that SSA conduct periodic validity and integrity checks on the beneficiary data to ensure the data are reliable, and establish performance goals for WIPA grantees. SSA agreed to implement both recommendations.
To view the full report, click here, or for additional information, contact Jonathan Lasher, Assistant Inspector General for External Relations, at (410) 965-2671. Refer to Common Identification Number A-03-10-11054.