SSA Funds for Policy Research

Gao ID: HEHS-96-171R July 15, 1996

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Social Security Administration's (SSA) disability research agenda. GAO noted that: (1) SSA assigned a senior policy research expert to work on the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) disability policy project from 1992 to 1996; (2) SSA paid 100 percent of the employee's salary and benefits for work performed at NASI; (3) this assignment violated the Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970 and Office of Personnel Management regulations; (4) the employee worked for 2 years without having a written agreement between SSA and NASI, and the assignment exceeded the IPA time limit; (5) SSA signed two interagency agreements to study the growth in adult disability rolls; (6) these agreements made it possible for SSA contractors to study health trends among the disabled, formulate case studies on state disability insurance programs, analyze long-term factors affecting the disabled, and establish a national conference on disability policy; (7) SSA signed another interagency agreement to study disabled workers returning to work; and (8) this agreement enabled SSA to avoid the administrative costs associated with new research projects, and provide supplemental funding for the Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

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