Retirement Security:

Social Security Administration's Beneficiary Rehabilitation Program

HRD-81-22: Published: Nov 10, 1980. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 1980.

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GAO reviewed the Beneficiary Rehabilitation Program (BRP) of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The primary purpose of BRP is to provide savings to the trust funds by returning as many disabled beneficiaries as possible to the work force, thereby terminating their social security disability benefits. GAO focused on the question of whether available data could be used to determine the program's effectiveness.

SSA has neither collected all the necessary data nor established a management information system essential to assess the program's effectiveness. The eligibility of many beneficiaries who were served by the program was questionable because they were expected to medically recover at the time they were awarded disability benefits. The criteria for selection of individuals for the program include: (1) existence of a disabling physical or mental impairment which is not so rapidly progressive as to outrun the effect of vocational rehabilitation services, or to preclude restoration of the beneficiary to productive activity; (2) the disabling effect of the impairment, without the services planned, is expected to remain at a level of severity which would result in the continuing payment of disability benefits; (3) there is a reasonable expectation that such services will result in the restoration of the individual to productive activity; and (4) the reasonably predictable period of productive work activity is long enough that the benefits to be saved and the contributions which would be paid to the trust funds on future earnings would offset the cost of the services planned.

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

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should modify the Beneficiary Rehabilitation Program selection criteria to clarify that trust fund moneys should not be used to finance rehabilitation services for temporarily disabled individuals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should work with the Department of Education to establish an administrative process for the Beneficiary Rehabilitation Program to reimburse the basic state rehabilitation program for the cost of services provided to disabled beneficiaries during the period it was expected that they would medically recover.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should require the SSA Commissioner to develop and implement a management information system for BRP.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed

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

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