Worker and Family Assistance:

Privacy Issues and Supplemental Security Income Benefits

HRD-77-110: Published: Nov 15, 1977. Publicly Released: Nov 15, 1977.


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A November 1976 report to Congress recommended that the Social Security Administration (SSA) obtain accurate and complete data on compensation and pensions promptly and regularly from the Veterans Administration and the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). These data are used for computing payments.

The use of inadequate data from these agencies had resulted in Supplemental Security Income recipients being overpaid $60 million and underpaid $4 million annually. General Counsel at all three agencies agree with GAO that the recommendations for accurate and complete data are consistent with the Privacy Act since the disclosures are for a routine use compatible with the purpose for which the record was collected.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should revise the routine use notice so that it is more explicit about the information disclosed to SSA from its system of records entitled "Veterans, Dependents, and Beneficiaries Compensation and Pension Records" and the purposes of such disclosures. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to prepare a risk analysis to determine what security measures may be needed to prevent unauthorized access to the various payment tapes it transmits to the Treasury each month. The Chairman, RRB, and the Administrator of Veterans Affairs should also conduct risk analyses to determine what security safeguards should be exercised over the transmission of the compensation or pension income information provided to SSA.

    Agency Affected:

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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