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Aug 15, 2012

OIG Report On Households With Multiple Members Receiving SSI

     From a recent audit report by Social Security's Office of Inspector General (footnotes omitted):
Based on address matches that appeared on SSA [Social Security Administration] payment records, we estimate that 647,922 households had 2 or more SSI [Supplemental Security Income] recipients receiving payments in July 2011. Because SSA payment records indicated that, in general, annual SSI payments to two-and three-recipient households were at or below the Federal poverty guideline (see Table 1), we performed no further analysis of these payments.
However, SSA payment records indicated that annual SSI payments to about 11,481 households with 4 or more recipients were above the established Federal poverty guideline for comparable household sizes. SSA payment records indicated that individuals in these 11,481 households received approximately $63 million in annual SSI payments above established Federal poverty guidelines.
      I have some concern that OIG may have misidentified some group homes or other institutional settings as "households" since their own numbers show that many of the SSI recipients involved suffer from mental retardation. A footnote in the report says that these cases were excluded but I have trouble believing that Social Security's databases are accurate enough to completely exclude these cases.
     Any change in program rules for households with four or more SSI recipients would add administrative complexity. The additional costs of administration would partially offset any savings which could be achieved.

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  • 14 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "The additional costs of administration would partially offset any savings which could be achieved."

    Based on what data/numbers? Nice unsupported, biased conclusion!!

    7:52 AM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    1)Exclude any record with an organizational payee (type of payee code listed on the records). Boom, no more problems with group homes being included.

    2)"The additional costs of administration would partially offset any savings which could be achieved." -Please stop trying to be the disabled man's white knight when there is no damsel in distress. You seem to be jumping the gun and your posts are starting to depict you as someone trying to incite panic instead of an engaging discussion.

    8:30 AM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    One simple change, which would not be difficult or costly to administer, would be to offset child SSI just like adult SSI -- in essence setting up a family maximum such as SSD benefits already have. The report gives examples of families receiving $68,748 a year; $62,590 a year; $50,256 a year in SSI payments (not to mention that these families are on Medicaid and probably receive food stamps, housing assistance, utility assistance, and other forms of public aid). A needs-based program should not be netting a family income of $50K, $60K, $70K a year.

    9:19 AM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    +1 to all three comments. I think this is the first post where the first three comments were all spot on. Keep up the good work, folks.

    9:36 AM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I have a question.

    When I first started working at SSA, I asked the rationale of giving children benefits that are meant to compensate people who cannot work because of disabilities. Disabled children already get benefits for being disabled to cover the medical costs of their disability(Medicaid, State benefits, etc. We can argue that these programs are not good, but that does not justify using a SS program to backdoor shore up these programs). They also get food stamps, etc. to cover their other expenses if they are low-income. So why in the world are children also eligible for benefits meant to compensate people who are unable to work?


    The ONLY reason I ever found that tied Child SSI benefits to work was that the benefits were to compensate parents/guardians of these children for their time lost working due to caring for a disabled child. Ok, fair enough. But then why doesn't the program factor in if one/both parents/guardians is/are receiving SSI or DIB? If the guardians cannot work, what are their children on SSI being compensated for that has anything remotely to do with the inability to work?

    I understand the realities that since Clinton's welfare reform SSI (for adults and children, but especially children) has been (and there is a good pragmatic argument that it had to be and should be) used as a backdoor welfare program. But why is it on SSA, with its own problems meeting its actual stated purposes, to pick up the slack of other poorly-funded Federal and State programs meant to fulfill the purpose of helping those in financial need (as opposed to simply disabled people who cannot work)?

    I'd love to hear your take on this, Charles...

    9:43 AM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    If you are going to compensate parents for time off work caring for their disabled child, then it would be appropriate to extend that to all parents (or at least middle class parents). The family making $30,000 or $40,000 a year, and therefore not eligible for public aid, needs the income of the parent just as much, if not more, then the family in poverty, which qualifies for a variety of public assistance that meets or helps meet all their basic needs. Also, if the intent is to help parents who have to miss work to care for their kids, then you would have to restrict child SSI to the most debilitating physical impairments (which would make more sense anyway). The child with ADHD, language/speech delays, a learning disorder, asthma, juvenile diabetes, for example, does not require the parent to miss work with any regularity.

    The purpose of child SSI, plain and simple, is to provide more money to (a select group of) poor people, as was stated by one of the members of Congress who advocated for the program initially.

    10:35 AM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    SSI should be abolished, at least for kids though I believe it should be thrown out for adults as well. No cash, only medical expenses paid and vouchers issued for transportation costs (to/from drs, therapy, etc), if parent(s) that poor that he/she/they can't afford it. My personal experience as an ex-clt's rep was that we'd have the whole family coming to the firm to be signed up "for check" - both parents and 3-4 kids... Impairments? Kids: ADHD, ODD... ADults: DM, LBP, "bipolar"... Pathetic.

    11:06 AM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    For many of these children, the impairment is DPS -- Dysfunctional Parent Syndrome.

    11:45 AM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    10:35 -- SSI for children is still subject to resources and income limits, so it couldn't be used for middle class folks. Charles, my question still yearns for your reply: why give SSI benefits to children whose guardians are not able to work and thus not losing any income on their account, when this is the only reason tied to working for SSI benefits for children in the first place?

    12:37 PM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's insane that there's a family max for Social Security but not SSI. I understand it would be difficult to implement but it's something to think about...

    2:32 PM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    10:35 -- SSI for children is still subject to resources and income limits, so it couldn't be used for middle class folks.

    While it is currently subject to income and resource limits, it would not have to be. If the intention behind child's SSI was to replace lost wages for a parent who has to stay home and care for a disabled child, then it ought to be extended to parents above 125% of the poverty line because the financial impact on them is potentially much greater, since they will not be receiving all of the other public aid that current SSI recipients receive.

    Of course, child's SSI is really just a way to give more money to a select group of poor people

    3:00 PM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    A family maximum would be easier to implement for SSI, since PIA would not be relevant. In fact, the OIG report explains one possible way of reducing the payments for multiple children.

    3:03 PM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Charles, I have another question you might be more willing to answer along the same lines.

    How do you feel about the recently growing (and sure to keep growing) number of people who are retirement age applying for and getting DIB benefits? I mean, we all can agree this is just a backdoor way to get the higher amount without having to wait until 65 or older, right?

    3:32 PM, August 15, 2012  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3:40 PM, August 17, 2012  

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