Replacing Missing Supplemental Security Income Checks

Recipients Waiting Longer Than Necessary Gao ID: HRD-78-28 August 22, 1978

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is intended to provide a minimum income level for aged, blind, or disabled people having little or no means of self-support. About 28,000 recipients each month report that they have not received their SSI checks.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Treasury Department have a system for replacing checks reported missing, but the system has problems and many recipients wait a long time before receiving checks. SSA began an expedited check replacement system in August 1974 which could replace checks within 10 days. However, extensive delays were still caused by problems such as errors in entering information into the computer. Additional changes made by SSA in April 1977 resulted in rapid replacement of some checks but did not correct the problems of delays caused by incorrect processing. The current system is designed to replace missing checks within 4 to 6 days if district offices enter correct information into the central computer. Bills introduced in Congress either authorize SSA to reimburse state and local agencies that make emergency loans to people who do not receive their checks or require SSA to replace checks within a short time period. The emergency loan proposal would require extensive management controls and considerable coordination with the states. Replacing checks in a short time period could be costly or difficult to implement.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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