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Program Assessment


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Supplemental Security Income

The purpose of the Supplemental Security Income program is to provide basic support to needy individuals who are blind, disabled or who are aged 65 years or older and who have limited or no other income. It provides monthly cash payments based on national eligibility standards.


What This Rating Means

Moderately Effective

In general, a program rated Moderately Effective has set ambitious goals and is well-managed. Moderately Effective programs likely need to improve their efficiency or address other problems in the programs' design or management in order to achieve better results.
  • The program is working to provide benefits to the right people on a timely basis. Waiting times for appeals for those initially denied benefits can be long. Through May 2007, waiting times for hearings average over 500 days. The program is working to improve the disability determination process and is using proven program integrity tools.
  • People are not always paid the right benefits. The rules related to income and resources are complicated. The program's improper payments result primarily from overpayments which are almost 8% of total program outlays.
  • The program has strong management. Managers meet frequently and adjust the distribution of resources to the areas of the program administration that most need them. The program also has well-developed efficiency measures, such as hearings case production per workyear, that SSA uses to measure and increase productivity, allowing the agency to process more applications with less funding.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Simplifying the process for determining if an individual is disabled to improve the accuracy and speed of decisions.
  • Connecting beneficiaries with expanding employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
  • Addressing payment accuracy issues by developing proposals to simplify the program's eligibility rules.

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The content on is developed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Federal agencies.