Congressional Response Report: The Social Security Administration’s Field Office Benefit Verification Process

Date: 
Monday, December 1, 2014
Management Issue: 
Report Number: 
A-04-14-24136
Report Type: 
Audit Report
Office Affiliation: 

In a May 1, 2014 letter, the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Social Security, Committee on Ways and Means, asked us to evaluate SSA’s past efforts to reduce the number of benefit verification (BEVE) requests made by individuals at Field Offices (FO) and/or reduce the impact that responding to these requests has had on FO workloads.

SSA’s BEVE letter is proof that an individual receives Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicare. Individuals may obtain these letters via SSA’s FO, national 800-number, or Website. SSA’s data exchanges provide governments, businesses, and private organizations access to information they need to provide services to their and SSA’s mutual customers.

The purpose of this report was to determine (1) specific strategies SSA's national, regional, and local field offices (FO) had pursued to reduce the number of benefit verification (BEVE) letters individuals requested at FOs, including any effect of such strategies; (2) how SSA used its data exchanges to provide this information directly to agencies/States; and (3) the number of BEVE requests by office and region as well as over time.