Proposed Relocation of the Offices of the Social Security Administrator and Staff

B-164031(4).113: Published: May 7, 1979. Publicly Released: May 6, 1985.

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The question was raised whether the Friedel Amendment would bar the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) from effecting the proposed relocation of the offices of the Social Security Administration (SSA) from Woodlawn, Baltimore County, Maryland, to Washington, D.C. In reply to a request for his views on the matter, the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget, HEW, stated that the Friedel Amendment does not bar the Secretary of HEW from effecting the proposed relocation because: (1) the Friedel Amendment is not permanent legislation, but rather a 1-year limitation on the funds appropriated by the Supplemental Appropriation Act; and (2) changes in the organizational structure and programmatic responsibilities of SSA since 1954 have rendered the Amendment inapplicable. GAO found the first point not entirely convincing. GAO did agree with the second proposition, however, and found that point to be dispositive. The Friedel Amendment prohibited the relocation of the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (BOASI), which was abolished in 1963 with no clearly defined successor. BOASI administered only the OASI Program, whereas today the Baltimore SSA staff has assumed responsibility for other programs that are carried out within an interdisciplinary administrative structure. The functions of the former OASI cannot be apportioned to current HEW units; consequently, the Friedel Amendment does not now apply to SSA. It was also ascertained that the provisions of the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare Appropriation Act of 1979 would not be an impediment to the transfer of SSA personnel as proposed by HEW.

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