Our objective was to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) was making improper Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments to confined juveniles.
On any given day, thousands of adolescents are confined in correctional facilities nationwide. Some of these juveniles receive SSI payments, which are intended to help pay for their basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Federal law requires that SSA suspend SSI payments for any full calendar month during which the beneficiary is confined in a correctional facility at public expense.
We requested juvenile justice departments in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas provide the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and confinement dates for juveniles in their correctional facilities as of September 1, 2016. We reviewed SSA records for the juveniles to determine whether they received SSI payments while confined. We did not obtain information on all juveniles in custody. Because we conducted this audit for research purposes, we agreed not to take action or refer to SSA any specific juvenile or his/her legal guardian based on the data the States provided. Accordingly, SSA did not have the opportunity to validate our results.