Report Summary
Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General

June 2010

Manual Computations of Supplemental Security Income Payments

To determine whether the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) internal controls were adequate to ensure that manual computations of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments were calculated and reviewed in accordance with SSA policies and procedures.

SSI recipients are required to report events and changes of circumstances that may affect their eligibility and payment amounts—including changes in income, resources, and living arrangements.  In some cases, SSA’s automated system cannot compute an accurate SSI payment.  As a result, an SSA employee must manually compute the SSI payment amount the recipient should have been paid. 

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Our Findings

Our review found that manual computations were not always accurate or updated when necessary.  Specifically, because of inaccurate calculations, we project that 14,393 recipients in our population were overpaid approximately $7.7 million, and 18,453 recipients were underpaid approximately $6.7 million.  In addition, we project that 2,952 recipients in our population were overpaid approximately $968,000, and 3,691 recipients were underpaid approximately $608,000 because they did not have a new manually computed SSI payment amount when a subsequent event occurred.

Our review also found that manual computations were not always reviewed by a second employee, as required by SSA policies and procedures.  In addition, we found that some manual computations that were reviewed by a second employee were still inaccurate.

Our Recommendations

We recommended SSA:

  1. Take corrective action to properly resolve all SSI payment errors for recipients in our sample.
  2. Provide refresher training to staff who prepare and review manual computations.
  3. Remind staff that the review of manual computations by a second employee should be performed and documented.
  4. Update its policy to provide additional guidance to field office employees on how frequently the Force Pay Listing should be reviewed to determine whether manually computed SSI payments remain appropriate.
SSA agreed with the recommendations.