Report Summary

Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General

July 2009

Supplemental Security Income Redetermination



To determine the financial impact to the General Fund as a result of the Social Security Administration (SSA) conducting reduced numbers of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) redeterminations.


SSI is a nationwide, Federal cash assistance program administered by SSA that provides a minimum level of income to financially needy individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled.  Payments under the SSI program are funded from the Government’s General Fund, which is financed through tax payments from the American public.  SSA has implemented measures to help identify SSI recipients with excess income and/or resources, such as periodically conducting redeterminations to determine whether recipients are still eligible for and receiving the correct SSI payments. 

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Our Findings

The number of SSI redeterminations conducted by SSA has substantially decreased although the number of SSI recipients has increased. In fact, between Fiscal Years (FY) 2003 and 2008, redeterminations decreased by more than 60 percent. According to SSA, it was not able to conduct as many redeterminations as needed because of budget limitations and increases in SSA’s core workloads. We estimate SSA could have saved an additional $3.3 billion during FYs 2008 and 2009 by conducting redeterminations at the same level it did in FY 2003.

Our Recommendations

We recommended SSA:

  1. Establish a methodology to identify the number of redeterminations that are needed each year.  To the extent the annual number of necessary redeterminations is not completed, SSA should identify the lost savings and document the reasons the number of needed redeterminations was not completed.
  2. Establish a methodology to identify the cost-savings ratio for redeterminations conducted each year.
  3. Continue to pursue the establishment of a self-funding program integrity fund.
SSA agreed with the recommendations.