Social Security

More Must Be Done To Credit Earnings to Individuals' Accounts Gao ID: HRD-87-52 September 18, 1987

GAO reviewed the effectiveness of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) process for crediting individuals' earnings to their individual accounts and the effect of uncredited or erroneously credited earnings on individuals' benefits and eligibility and on Social Security trust funds.

GAO found that: (1) SSA consistently reported less in earnings than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the two agencies have not worked well together to resolve differences in employers' earning reports; (2) SSA contact with employers to resolve such differences resulted in recording about an additional $3.6 billion in earnings for 700,000 employees, although half of employers contacted did not provide information; (3) neither SSA nor IRS compiled sufficient data to identify the causes of differences and actions necessary to prevent or reduce future occurrences; (4) three of five individuals with uncredited earnings faced possible loss of about $17 a month in benefits; (5) SSA plans to resolve some backlogged uncredited earnings reports did not encompass all such reports, or address employers who did not respond to information requests, or ensure that employers saved employees' earning records; and (6) unless it can certify recorded earnings for previous tax years, SSA may not be entitled to a portion of tax revenues received based on IRS records.


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