oversight

Supplemental Security Income: Increased Receipt and Reporting of Child Support Could Reduce Payments

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-01-12.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO              Report to the Committees on Finance,
                 U.S. Senate, and Ways and Means, House
                 of Representatives


January 1999
                 SUPPLEMENTAL
                 SECURITY INCOME
                 Increase Receipt and
                 Reporting of Child
                 Support Could Reduce
                 Payments




GAO/HEHS-99-11
      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Health, Education, and
      Human Services Division

      B-279807

      January 12, 1999

      The Honorable William V. Roth, Jr.
      Chairman
      The Honorable Daniel Patrick Moynihan
      Ranking Minority Member
      Committee on Finance
      United States Senate

      The Honorable Bill Archer
      Chairman
      The Honorable Charles B. Rangel
      Ranking Minority Member
      Committee on Ways and Means
      House of Representatives

      In 1996, over a quarter of the nation’s children lived in a household where
      only one parent was present, usually the mother. About 42 percent of
      female-headed families with children had incomes at or below the poverty
      level, and a majority of these families received government aid to help
      meet their basic needs. For four of the largest federal programs that
      provide such aid—Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),
      Medicaid, the Food Stamp Program, and Supplemental Security Income
      (SSI)—child support received by a custodial parent is required to be
      considered as income in determining eligibility and benefit amounts.

      To reinforce the idea that parents have the primary responsibility for
      supporting their children and to minimize government costs of providing
      aid, single parents with children applying for or receiving TANF (since
      1975) or Medicaid (since 1984) are required as a condition of eligibility to
      cooperate with state Child Support Enforcement (CSE) agencies in seeking
      child support income. Cooperation involves identifying and helping to
      locate the noncustodial parent of a child and, if needed, taking steps to
      help establish paternity. In addition, as of 1996, states have the option of
      requiring food stamp applicants and recipients to cooperate with CSE.

      In contrast, single parents receiving SSI on behalf of their children are not
      required to cooperate with CSE agencies. These parents are, however,
      required to report any child support income received to the Social Security
      Administration (SSA), which administers the SSI program. In June 1998,
      about 60 percent of the 904,554 children under age 18 receiving SSI lived in
      single-parent families. In about 9 percent of these cases, the parents




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                   reported child support income to SSA. These statistics suggest that there is
                   potential for increasing child support income in the other families. They
                   also suggest that some families receiving child support may not report it to
                   SSA.


                   Because of congressional interest in enhancing parental responsibility and
                   self-sufficiency among families receiving public assistance and concern
                   about the need for improved management of the SSI program, we explored
                   opportunities for increasing the number of SSI single-parent families
                   receiving child support and for improving the reporting of such support to
                   SSA. More specifically, we identified the potential for reducing SSI payments
                   by increasing the extent to which (1) SSI children in single-parent families
                   are served by the CSE program and have support collected for them and
                   (2) support collected by CSE programs is reported by custodial parents to
                   SSA. We focused our work on the CSE programs of Florida, New York, and
                   Texas, three of the four states with the largest numbers of children
                   receiving SSI.1 We did our work between May 1997 and December 1998 in
                   accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. (See
                   app. I for information on our scope and methodology.)


                   SSIbenefits could be reduced and single-parent families’ incomes
Results in Brief   increased if more children on SSI received CSE services. The Florida, New
                   York, and Texas CSE programs provided services to almost 45,000 SSI
                   children in single-parent families in those states and collected child
                   support for more than one-quarter of those served. However, more than
                   52,000 other SSI children in single-parent families in those states did not
                   receive CSE services. We estimate that if their parents had been required to
                   cooperate with CSE services, annual SSI benefits to these children would
                   have been reduced by about $4.2 million, while the net annual income
                   (considering the child support and the resulting adjustments to the SSI
                   benefits) of the SSI single-parent families would have been increased by
                   $2.2 million. These potential benefit reductions would be offset by the
                   costs for SSA to administer a child support cooperation requirement and by
                   the costs, which could be considerable, for CSE programs to provide
                   services. Even though savings to the government are not guaranteed,
                   increasing the number of SSI children receiving CSE services would help
                   promote parental responsibility and increase the incomes of single


                   1
                    The four states with the largest number of children receiving SSI, in descending order, are New York,
                   California, Florida, and Texas. We did not include California in our review because it does not have a
                   statewide automated CSE data system. The three states included in our review represented about
                   20 percent of SSI children nationwide in June 1998.



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             parents, helping them to achieve and maintain economic independence
             and reducing their dependence on public assistance.

             Among the SSI children in single-parent families for whom the three states’
             CSE programs collected support, we found strong evidence that many
             parents had not reported the income to SSA as they were required to do.
             The Florida, New York, and Texas CSE programs collected support for
             15,427 SSI children—12,841 living in those states and an additional 2,586 SSI
             children living in other states. For 68 percent of these children, SSI records
             did not contain a report of child support income, indicating that their
             parents did not report the income to SSA. We estimate that, in these three
             states, SSA overpaid $7.7 million in annual SSI benefits because this
             unreported support was not considered in calculating children’s’ SSI
             benefits. These overpayments could be minimized in the future if SSA and
             CSE established a routine method of exchanging information on SSI
             recipients and child support collections.


             The Congress established SSI in 1972 to ensure a minimum cash income to
Background   needy aged, blind, and disabled persons, including needy children under
             age 18 if they have severe disabilities. SSI, now the nation’s largest cash
             assistance program for the poor, in 1997 paid about $26 billion in federal
             funds to about 6.5 million low-income aged, blind, and disabled recipients.
             Although SSI primarily serves adults, the number of children receiving SSI
             has increased from 127,000 in December 1975 to 928,000 in
             December 1997. SSA administers the program, which is authorized by title
             XVI of the Social Security Act.

             In 1975, in response to growing numbers of families receiving Aid to
             Families With Dependent Children, the Congress created the CSE program
             to reduce welfare spending and help single-parent families achieve or
             maintain economic self-sufficiency.2 The program provides assistance in
             obtaining financial and medical support for children through locating
             noncustodial parents, establishing paternity and support obligations, and
             enforcing those obligations. The Congress expanded the CSE program over
             the years, and today state CSE agencies are required to provide services
             automatically to families receiving TANF, foster care payments or services,
             or Medicaid and to any other family that requests them.3 State CSE agencies
             have responsibility for administering the program through state and local
             offices. At the federal level, the Office of Child Support Enforcement

             2
              CSE refers to the program authorized by title IV, part D, of the Social Security Act.
             3
              Persons required to cooperate with state CSE agencies may not be charged fees for CSE services.



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within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has oversight
responsibility for the program. The federal government pays 66 percent of
the states’ administrative costs for the CSE program, with the states paying
the remainder. The federal government also pays states incentive
payments for performance in establishing paternity and support orders,
collecting current support, collecting past due support, and operating
cost-effectively.4

In 1997, the CSE program collected about $13.4 billion in child support for
families receiving TANF and other families. About $10.8 billion of this was
distributed to families and $2.2 billion retained by the government as
recoupment of TANF payments. The Social Security Act requires that TANF
recipients assign their rights to child support to the state government and
that cash child support payments collected for TANF families be retained by
the government as recoupment for benefits.5 In the same year, CSE
collected child support for about 13 percent of the TANF child support
cases.

The requirement that persons cooperate with CSE as a condition of
receiving TANF or Medicaid benefits on behalf of children emphasizes that
parents, not the government, have primary responsibility for supporting
their children.6 However, TANF, Medicaid, and Food Stamp Program
applicants and recipients may not be required to cooperate with CSE if they
claim to have good cause for refusing to do so and the state agencies
administering these programs determine that the circumstances claimed
make cooperation not in the best interests of the child. Good causes for
refusing to cooperate may include, for example, fear of physical or
emotional harm to the child and/or custodial parent. For TANF recipients
who are required to cooperate but fail to do so, states are required to
reduce these recipients’ TANF grants by at least 25 percent and may opt to
eliminate TANF aid for the entire family.7

4
 In the calculation of performance incentives, collections on TANF cases and former TANF cases
receive twice the weight as collections on cases of persons who have never received TANF.
5
 Medicaid recipients assign to the government only their rights to medical child support payments and
payments for medical care from any third party. Thus, only cash child support designated for medical
expenses is retained by the government.
6
 Many Medicaid and food stamp recipients are also TANF recipients and are therefore required to
cooperate with CSE. Non-TANF recipients of Medicaid are required to cooperate with CSE only in
establishing paternity and seeking medical support. In those states that have opted to require it,
non-TANF food stamp recipients are required to cooperate with all CSE services. As of
December 1997, seven states had chosen to require food stamp recipient cooperation with state CSE
agencies.
7
 A survey conducted by the American Public Human Services Association in the summer of 1997 found
that 16 states eliminate the entire family’s assistance for failure to cooperate with CSE.



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                         The SSI program, on the other hand, does not require cooperation with CSE
                         as a condition of eligibility for receipt of SSI benefits.8 However, under the
                         Social Security Act, two-thirds of any child support received by, or on
                         behalf of, an SSI recipient is to be counted as income in calculating SSI
                         benefits. The amount of child support counted as income results in a
                         dollar-for-dollar decrease in the amount of SSI benefits to which a child is
                         entitled. These adjustments can reduce the benefit level, depending on the
                         size of the benefit, to zero, making the child ineligible for benefits.

                         When SSI parents receive child support for their children, they are required
                         to report this income to SSA for benefit determinations. SSA relies on
                         applicants and recipients to accurately report their income and assets, and
                         SSA policy requires that its staff obtain documentation to verify the amount
                         of income and resources that applicants report. To ensure recipients’
                         continuing financial eligibility and possibly detect some types of income
                         and resources that clients may not have reported, SSA uses computer
                         matches of SSI payment records against recipient financial information
                         contained in the payment files of third parties, such as other federal and
                         state government agencies. However, SSA does not match computer data
                         with state CSE agencies’ child support collection systems.


                         Our analysis in three states indicates that opportunities exist to serve
Opportunities Exist to   more SSI children through the CSE program, which should result in
Increase the Number      increased child support income for some families and reduced SSI
of SSI Children          payments. Providing CSE services to additional families would entail costs
                         for SSI and CSE program administration, but would help promote parental
Receiving Child          responsibility, increase some families’ incomes, and reduce the need for
Support                  public assistance.




                         8
                          Most SSI recipients are also Medicaid recipients and, if they are single parents, are required to
                         cooperate with the CSE program for the establishment of paternity (if needed) and the collection of
                         medical support for children in single-parent homes. Moreover, some families with a child receiving
                         SSI may also have one or more other children receiving TANF. In those cases, the families would be
                         required to cooperate with CSE to receive TANF benefits. Generally, a child does not receive both SSI
                         and TANF.



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More Than Half of the                    In Florida, New York, and Texas, 97,095 children under age 18 received SSI
Children Receiving SSI in                in single-parent families as of September 1997.9 This represented about
Single-Parent Families in                half of all SSI children in those states.10 The three states’ CSE programs
                                         provided services to a total of 44,756, or 46 percent, of the SSI children in
Three States Did Not                     single-parent families in those states during the periods of our review.
Receive CSE Services                     These services resulted in child support collections for a significant
                                         number of families. More than half (54 percent), however, of these states’
                                         SSI children in single-parent families did not receive CSE services. As shown
                                         in table 1, we did not find a CSE record for 47, 53, and 65 percent,
                                         respectively, of children receiving SSI in single-parent families in Florida,
                                         New York, and Texas during the periods of our review.11

Table 1: Receipt of Child Support
Services by Children Receiving SSI in                                         Children receiving SSI in single-parent families
Single-Parent Families in Three States       Children’s state of                          Receiving CSE                Not receiving CSE
                                                 residence              Total               servicesa                       services
                                                                         Number          Number          Percent        Number          Percent
                                         Florida                           30,459          16,235              53         14,224               47
                                         New York                          42,026          19,825              47         22,201               53
                                         Texas                             24,610           8,696              35         15,914               65
                                         Total                             97,095          44,756              46         52,339               54
                                         Note: Data are for children in Florida receiving SSI as of July 1998, and in New York and Texas as
                                         of September 1997.
                                         a
                                          Services provided by the Florida CSE during the 12 months ending mid-July 1998, by the New
                                         York CSE for the 8 months ending August 31, 1997, and the Texas CSE for the 12 months ending
                                         July 31, 1997.



                                         Taken together, the three states’ programs collected support for 12,841, or
                                         29 percent, of the 44,756 SSI children they served. Individually, the Florida,
                                         New York, and Texas CSE programs collected support for 32, 21, and
                                         39 percent, respectively, of the SSI children living in those states whom



                                         9
                                          For the purposes of our analysis, the terms single parent and single-parent family do not refer to the
                                         marital status of parents or the number of parents in a household but rather to the situation in which
                                         children are living in a home where only one of their natural or adoptive parents is present. In some
                                         instances, someone other than a parent, such as an adult caretaker or representative payee, may
                                         receive SSI benefits on behalf of a child.
                                         10
                                          The SSI children in single-parent families in Florida, New York, and Texas represented 55, 54, and
                                         45 percent, respectively, of all of the SSI children in each of these states.
                                         11
                                          We found a small number—less than 10 percent—of single parents of SSI children not receiving
                                         services who had reported child support income to SSA. They may receive child support through
                                         means other than the CSE program, such as through the courts or directly from noncustodial parents.



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                             they served.12 The median annual amount of support collected for these SSI
                             children was $487 in Florida, $350 in New York, and $501 in Texas. (See
                             also tables II.1 and II.2 for more detailed data.)


SSI Benefits Could Be        Providing CSE services to SSI children in single-parent families who are not
Reduced and Families’        currently receiving them can potentially increase child support income for
Incomes Increased If More    some of them and reduce reliance on SSI benefits. It is not possible to
                             estimate precisely the potential for child support collections among the SSI
Children on SSI Received     children not currently receiving services because doing so requires
CSE Services                 information about the potential for payment by noncustodial parents,
                             which is not available. To estimate SSI benefit reductions that might result
                             from more SSI children receiving CSE services in the three states included in
                             our review, we applied each state’s collection rate for the SSI children it
                             currently served to the children not currently served and assumed that the
                             same median amounts of support could be collected. The actual amounts
                             of CSE collections that may result from serving these families could be
                             higher or lower than this estimate.

                             With this methodology, we estimate that CSE could collect a total of
                             $6.4 million in support for an additional 14,119 SSI children.13 With
                             two-thirds of the support counted as income for SSI benefit calculations,
                             we estimate SSI benefits for children in these states could be reduced by a
                             total of $4.2 million annually—$1.3 million in Florida, $1 million in New
                             York, and $1.9 million in Texas. Despite this reduction in benefits, the SSI
                             families’ incomes would be increased by a net of $2.2 million because not
                             all of the child support received would result in a reduction in SSI benefits.
                             (See table I.1 for detailed calculations.)


Requiring Parents of SSI     Like any enforcement effort, requiring that all single parents applying for
Children to Cooperate With   or receiving SSI for their children cooperate with CSE services as a
CSE Increases Costs for      condition of receiving aid comes at a cost. SSI eligibility workers would
                             need to perform additional tasks to implement the requirement, and CSE’s
SSI and CSE but Ensures      caseloads would increase, raising costs for these programs. However, such
That Child Support Is        a requirement would increase the likelihood that noncustodial parents
Pursued for Those            fulfill their financial responsibilities toward their children, thereby
Receiving Aid                reducing custodial parents’ dependence on the government for support.


                             12
                               State CSE agencies can also provide services to children residing in other states, which we discuss
                             later in this report.
                             13
                               These data exclude SSI children whose SSA records indicated the receipt of child support.



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A cooperation requirement would necessitate that SSI eligibility workers,
like workers in other programs, provide information about the CSE
program to single parents receiving or applying for SSI on behalf of their
children. SSI eligibility workers would have to explain the requirement for
cooperation with CSE services, obtain information from parents for the
referral of children’s cases to CSE agencies, and make the case referrals.
For the TANF program, for example, some CSE agencies develop an intake
form to be used by the TANF agency in obtaining information on the family
and the noncustodial parent to help the CSE agency establish an
enforceable case.14 Also, in other programs, applicants must be notified of
the right to claim good cause for not cooperating, and then determinations
must be made about whether good cause exists.15 Additional time required
for tasks like these would likely lengthen the initial SSI eligibility interview
and increase associated paperwork.

In November 1997, SSA began interviewing a nationwide sample of
approximately 1,000 SSI recipients about child support issues to determine
the extent to which SSI recipients try to obtain child support and to
estimate the potential cost of adding a component on child support issues
in the initial SSI eligibility interview. SSA officials told us that the agency has
a draft legislative proposal under review by the Office of Management and
Budget that would require persons applying for or receiving SSI on behalf
of children to show they have tried to obtain child support. The proposal
does not require these individuals to cooperate with or to seek support
specifically through the CSE program—as opposed to other means—as is
now required for TANF and Medicaid recipients. The nationwide study
would also help to estimate the costs for SSA to implement its legislative
proposal.

Establishing a CSE cooperation requirement for SSI recipients would also
increase the workload and federal and state costs of the CSE program.16 In
New York and Texas, serving currently unserved SSI children would
increase the total CSE caseload in those states (as of Aug. 1997) by about
2 percent; for Florida, the increase would be about 1.3 percent. There
appears to be no generally accepted methodology for calculating the


14
 In some jurisdictions, TANF applicants must cooperate with CSE (usually in the form of an interview
with a state CSE agency) before financial assistance is provided.
15
 In the Aid to Families With Dependent Children (now TANF) program for fiscal year 1995—the latest
year for which data were available—8,387 claims of good cause were made and 5,462 were found valid.
The monthly average number of families receiving AFDC was 4.9 million in fiscal year 1995.
16
 State CSE agencies are required to provide services to anyone who requests them, and SSI recipients
may all request services.



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                        actual costs of serving additional families in the CSE program. Although we
                        did not estimate CSE costs for providing services to additional families, we
                        believe they could be significant, potentially large enough to offset the
                        savings in SSI benefit reductions. While the CSE program would bear the
                        costs of providing services to all of the SSI families with children, it would
                        not collect child support for all of them, limiting the amount of savings
                        through SSI benefit reductions. Moreover, 34 percent of these CSE costs
                        would be borne by the states, which would generally not experience
                        savings from the reduced SSI benefits. Nevertheless, government cost
                        reduction is not the only goal of the CSE program. It also promotes parental
                        responsibility and strives to increase the incomes of single parents,
                        helping them to achieve and maintain economic independence and
                        reducing their dependence on public assistance.


                        In addition to exploring the potential for more SSI recipients to receive CSE
SSI Overpayments        services, we also determined the extent to which those already receiving
Occur From              CSE services were reporting to SSA the child support income collected for

Nonreporting of Child   them by state CSE agencies. Our analysis of data for three states indicated
                        that many single parents of SSI children did not report to SSA the child
Support Income          support collected for them by the CSE program. On the basis of this
                        analysis, we estimated that SSA overpaid about $7.7 million in SSI benefits
                        in 1 year as a result of such nonreporting. SSA could identify or prevent
                        many of these types of overpayments if it had information on CSE
                        collections for SSI children from one of the existing or
                        soon-to-be-operational sources of computerized CSE collections data.


Many Parents Did Not    The Florida, New York, and Texas CSE programs provided CSE services for
Report Child Support    SSI children living in those states as well as to some SSI children living in

Income to SSA           other states.17 The three states’ CSE programs served a total of 55,884 SSI
                        children in single-parent families, including the 44,756 we identified living
                        in Florida, New York, and Texas and an additional 11,128 SSI children
                        residing in other states. These CSE programs collected support for 15,427,
                        or 28 percent, of these SSI children.18


                        17
                         A state CSE agency gives services to all children in the state who have requested services or whose
                        custodial parents are required to cooperate with CSE. In addition, a CSE agency in one state will
                        provide services to a child in another state when asked to do so by the CSE agency in the child’s state
                        of residence.
                        18
                          The Florida, New York, and Texas CSE programs’ child support collection rates for the SSI children
                        they served, including children living within and outside those states, were 32, 21, and 37 percent,
                        respectively. These individual state and aggregate rates are very similar to the collection rates cited
                        earlier that are based only on the SSI children served who reside in those states.



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                                       Our comparison of SSA and CSE records indicates that many parents of SSI
                                       children with child support income did not report the income to SSA. As
                                       shown in table 2, we found no indication of child support being reported
                                       for 10,432, or 68 percent, of the SSI children for whom the three states’ CSE
                                       programs collected support. (See also tables II.1 and II.2 for more detailed
                                       information by state on the numbers and percentages served and for
                                       whom collections were made.)19

Table 2: Parental Reporting of Child
Support Collections by Three States’                                    SSI children for whom CSE collected child supporta
CSE Programs for SSI Children in                                                       Parent reported             Parent did not report
Single-Parent Families                                                                 support to SSA                support to SSA
                                                                         Total
                                       State CSEb                      number         Number          Percent        Number          Percent
                                       Florida                            5,828          1,755              30          4,073               70
                                       New York                           5,720          1,704              30          4,016               70
                                       Texas                              3,879          1,536              40          2,343               60
                                       Total                            15,427           4,995              32         10,432               68
                                       Note: Data are for children in Florida receiving SSI as of July 1998, and in New York and Texas as
                                       of September 1997.
                                       a
                                        Collections made by the Florida CSE during the 12 months ending mid-July 1998, by the New
                                       York CSE for the 8 months ending August 31, 1997, and by the Texas CSE for the 12 months
                                       ending July 31, 1997.



                                       The total amount of unreported child support collected by these three
                                       states for SSI children was almost $12 million.20 Because parents did not
                                       report this income to SSA, SSA was not able to adjust benefit amounts
                                       accordingly. We estimate that as a result, SSA overpaid $7.7 million in SSI
                                       benefits in 1 year in these three states (see table 3).21


                                       19
                                         Because we relied on a computerized match of extracts of CSE and SSI automated records and not a
                                       detailed review of case file information, we were not able to confirm that the child support collections
                                       recorded in the CSE records were in fact distributed to each child’s custodial parent and, therefore,
                                       were required to be reported to SSA. In some cases, for example, where other children in a family were
                                       receiving TANF, the support collected for the SSI child may have been inappropriately retained by the
                                       government and not distributed to the family. In other cases, the child support for an SSI child could
                                       have been past due for a previous period of time during which the child was receiving TANF; in this
                                       case, the child support collected may have been retained, appropriately, by the government and not
                                       distributed to the family. In both cases, the support would not be counted by SSA as income because
                                       the family did not receive it.
                                       20
                                        To arrive at this total, the collections by New York’s CSE over an 8-month period were projected to
                                       12 months.
                                       21
                                         For our estimate, we calculated the estimated annual SSI overpayment for each child as two-thirds of
                                       the annual unreported child support (the amount considered as income under law) or the annual SSI
                                       benefit, whichever was less, and summed these amounts for all children for whom support was not
                                       reported.



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Table 3: Estimated Annual SSI
Overpayments Resulting From                                                                                           Estimated
Nonreporting of Child Support                                                                                            annual
Collected by Three States’ CSE   State collecting support                                                          overpayment
Programs                         Florida                                                                              $2,858,205
                                 New York                                                                               3,206,240
                                 Texas                                                                                  1,658,028
                                 Total                                                                                $7,722,473



Data on CSE Child Support        We have in the past reported on the need for SSA to verify information
Collections Are Available        voluntarily reported by SSI recipients by using existing state and other
for Verifying SSI                databases.22 We specifically recommended that, to prevent overpayments
                                 or detect them sooner, SSA (1) identify additional income sources for
Recipients’ Income               which SSA does not currently have computer matches and (2) use on-line
                                 access to routinely check for unreported sources of income in states when
                                 it is cost-effective to do so.23 SSA has taken some actions in response to our
                                 recommendations, including expanding use of on-line data maintained by
                                 state agencies to better verify recipients’ financial information. In a recent
                                 report, we recommended that SSA accelerate efforts to identify more timely
                                 and complete sources for verifying financial eligibility information.24 In
                                 this report, we identify another opportunity for SSA to improve its
                                 administration of the SSI program.

                                 Although no single, nationwide source of computerized data on all states’
                                 CSE collections exists, states are required by the Social Security Act to
                                 have three statewide computerized data files containing information on
                                 child support collections from which SSA may obtain data for SSI recipients.
                                 The first computerized data files from which SSA may obtain CSE
                                 collections information are states’ CSE automated data processing and
                                 information retrieval systems. State CSE programs were required by the
                                 Family Support Act of 1988 to have statewide automated systems that
                                 meet federal specifications by October 1, 1997. In addition, the 1996
                                 welfare reform legislation required that states enhance these systems to be


                                 22
                                  Supplemental Security Income: Timely Data Could Prevent Millions in Overpayments to Nursing
                                 Home Residents (GAO/HEHS-97-62, June 3, 1997); Supplemental Security Income: SSA Efforts Fall
                                 Short in Correcting Erroneous Payments to Prisoners (GAO/HEHS-96-152, Aug. 30, 1996);
                                 Supplemental Security Income: Opportunities Exist for Improving Payment Accuracy
                                 (GAO/HEHS-98-75, Mar. 27, 1998).
                                 23
                                  Supplemental Security Income: Administrative and Program Savings Possible by Directly Accessing
                                 State Data (GAO/HEHS-96-163, Aug. 29, 1996).
                                 24
                                   Supplemental Security Income: Action Needed on Long-Standing Problems Affecting Program
                                 Integrity (GAO/HEHS-98-158, Sept. 14, 1998).



                                 Page 11                                                GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
B-279807




capable of electronically interfacing with other federal and state agencies.
As of November 16, 1998, 37 states’ CSE programs had received federal
certification for their data processing and information retrieval systems.25

Two other computerized statewide data systems were required by the 1996
welfare reform legislation to be in operation by October 1, 1998: (1) states’
centralized child support payment collection and disbursement units,
required for the identification, receipt, and distribution of support
payments on both CSE and non-CSE child support cases,26 and (2) states’ CSE
case registries, required to comprise information on all CSE and non-CSE
cases.27 For CSE cases, the registries must also include information on any
amounts owed that have been collected. Information contained in the state
case registries must be capable of being extracted from the state’s CSE
system and shared and compared with information contained in other
databases.

SSA officials expressed concern that CSE data files do not contain sufficient
detail for them to determine accurately the amounts of child support
income received by SSI children that should be considered as income for
the purposes of ascertaining eligibility and payment amounts for SSI
benefits. In addition, they said that in the past they encountered problems
in accessing various kinds of state data because of the differing capacities
of state data systems and state policies on and willingness to share data
considered confidential. SSA officials noted, for example, that after several
years of effort, exchanges of data on quarterly wages have not been
achieved with all states. They suggested that it would be more efficient if
CSE was responsible for reporting to SSA collections for SSI children, rather
than requiring SSA to access state data systems.

We agree with SSA that some states’ CSE data files may not contain
sufficient information upon which to base adjustments to SSI benefit
calculations. But states’ CSE data could, at a minimum, indicate to SSA those
cases for which child support may be a potential source of income that
should be further investigated. In addition, we acknowledge that the ease
and costs of obtaining CSE collections data will vary from state to state
because different degrees of automation exist in the data files of state CSE


25
  The 37 include Guam and Puerto Rico.
26
 If in August 1996 local courts were being used to process payments, the state has an additional year
before it must have a central payment disbursement unit. State disbursement units must process
non-CSE cases issued on or after January 1, 1994, which are subject to income withholding.
27
 State case registries must contain information on non-CSE cases established or modified after
October 1, 1998.



Page 12                                                   GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
                    B-279807




                    agencies. However, as more state CSE systems become federally certified
                    and the state case registries and centralized collection and distribution
                    units become operational, we expect the ease of access to increase and
                    costs to decrease. It is also possible that the most efficient and
                    cost-effective option is for CSE to report collections to SSA.

                    We did not estimate the potential costs of the various approaches for SSA
                    and CSE agencies to exchange data on child support collections. The
                    decision on whether state CSE programs should report data to SSA or SSA
                    should access state data files should be based on an assessment of the
                    relative costs and efficiencies of various possible approaches.


                    The Congress established the CSE program and expanded it over the years
Conclusions         to minimize public expenditures for low-income families and enhance
                    families’ self-sufficiency by helping to obtain child support income for
                    them. Even though SSI is an important source of cash support for many
                    children, single-parent families applying for or receiving SSI are not
                    required to cooperate with CSE. Yet, we found that many SSI children who
                    could benefit from CSE services are not receiving them. If more SSI children
                    received CSE services and ultimately received child support, SSI benefits
                    would be reduced, and families receiving support would be less dependent
                    on public assistance and closer to achieving self-sufficiency. The Congress
                    could ensure that families receiving SSI receive CSE program services by
                    amending the Social Security Act to require cooperation with CSE as a
                    condition of eligibility for SSI benefits. This would be in keeping with the
                    principle that parents, not the federal government, have primary
                    responsibility for supporting their children and should seek child support,
                    if appropriate, when applying for or receiving federal public assistance.

                    In addition, many single parents of SSI children who are already receiving
                    child support through the CSE program are not reporting the child support
                    to SSA, resulting in millions of dollars of SSI overpayments. SSA could
                    prevent or detect these overpayments by identifying child support
                    collected by CSE for SSI recipients. Several computerized sources of such
                    data are available to facilitate such an effort.


                    We recommend that the Congress amend the Social Security Act to require
Recommendation to   that all single parents applying for or receiving SSI benefits on behalf of
the Congress        children under age 18 be required to cooperate with CSE services, unless




                    Page 13                                    GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
                       B-279807




                       they have good cause not to do so. The Congress also will need to consider
                       how best to enforce such a requirement.


                       We recommend that the Commissioner of Social Security and the
Recommendation to      Secretary of HHS take steps to implement a cost-effective method for
the Commissioner of    ensuring that data on CSE collections for children receiving SSI are made
Social Security and    available to SSA and used in making eligibility determinations. This may
                       include seeking legislative changes to allow SSA access to states’ data on
the Secretary of HHS   child support collections.


                       In commenting on a draft of this report, SSA agreed with our
Agency Comments        recommendation that parents applying for and receiving SSI for children
and Our Response       under age 18 be required to cooperate with CSE agencies. SSA said it is
                       considering various options for effecting such changes through legislation.
                       SSA also agreed with our recommendation that SSA and CSE explore ways to
                       implement a cost-effective method for ensuring that data on CSE
                       collections for children receiving SSI are made available to SSA and used in
                       making eligibility determinations. SSA commented that it had already
                       begun discussions with HHS’ Office of Child Support Enforcement about
                       alternative ways to obtain child support payment data to improve the SSI
                       eligibility determination process. It also noted that legislation may be
                       needed to require all states to report CSE payment data to SSA. At the same
                       time, SSA said it continues to negotiate on-line access to state data on an
                       individual state basis, addressing privacy issues as needed. It also noted
                       that to address privacy issues more generally and thus facilitate its access
                       to a wide range of state data, including child support data, it has developed
                       a legislative proposal that would deem that SSA’s privacy standard would
                       meet all states’ privacy standards for sharing data. SSA’s comments appear
                       in appendix III.

                       In commenting on a draft of this report, HHS also agreed with our
                       recommendation that parents applying for and receiving SSI for children
                       generally should be required to cooperate with CSE agencies. HHS said it is
                       prepared to work with SSA and the Congress to address the numerous
                       issues related to such a change and to develop legislation that achieves
                       our recommendation. Regarding the recommendation about working with
                       SSA to ensure that CSE data are available to SSA, HHS said that discussions
                       are already under way with SSA about ways to provide payment data and
                       noted along with SSA that legislation may be needed to require all states to
                       report CSE payment data to SSA. In the meantime, it is supporting SSA’s



                       Page 14                                    GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
B-279807




efforts to negotiate on-line access to state data on an individual state basis.
HHS also noted that the report appears to equate child support enforcement
services with the IV-D caseload, stating that some SSI children may also
receive services as part of the non-IV-D caseload. We have clarified this
point in the report. HHS’ comments appear in appendix IV.

We also provided copies of a draft of this report to the Florida, New York,
and Texas CSE agencies. Florida and Texas officials expressed concerns
about the costs to the states of providing CSE services to SSI clients. In
addition, officials from all three states raised a range of implementation
issues, including how strongly the cooperation requirement will be
enforced for parents and their children; what the specific responsibilities
would be for SSA and the child support agencies, such as for collecting
relevant information from custodial parents and determining good cause
exemptions; and the potential burden to their information systems of
sharing information at a time of great demands on their systems as a result
of welfare reform and federal requirements for updating their CSE
automated systems.

We noted in the report that states would bear some of the costs due to
additional CSE caseloads and would not share in the potential savings in SSI
benefits to children, which are federally funded. However, the federal
government also pays incentives to states for their CSE program
performance in specified ways, giving greater weight to TANF cases than
non-TANF cases in the calculation of these performance incentives, and we
have added this information to the report. In developing legislation to
implement a cooperation requirement for parents of SSI children, the
Congress could do the same for SSI cases, which could mitigate the cost
impact on states to some extent.

We also acknowledge that many implementation details will need to be
addressed by the Congress, SSA, and states’ CSE agencies and that some
changes to how states are currently operating may be needed. However,
we believe that implementing a cooperation requirement and exchanging
key program data are important goals in keeping with promoting personal
responsibility among individuals receiving government aid and managing
government programs efficiently and effectively.


We are sending copies of this report to the Commissioner of Social
Security, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and other interested
parties.



Page 15                                     GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
B-279807




If you have any questions about this report, please contact Mark V. Nadel,
Associate Director, on (202) 512-7215 or Gale C. Harris, Assistant Director,
on (202) 512-7235. Other major contributors were Catherine V. Pardee,
Evaluator-in-Charge, and Vanessa R. Taylor, Computer Systems Specialist.




Richard L. Hembra
Assistant Comptroller General




Page 16                                    GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
Page 17   GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
Contents



Letter                                                                                               1


Appendix I                                                                                          20
                         Identifying Children Receiving SSI in Single-Parent Families               20
Scope and                Determining Extent of Receipt and Reporting of CSE Services                21
Methodology                and Support Collections
                         Estimating Potential SSI Benefit Reductions From Increased                 22
                           Receipt of Child Support Services and Collections
                         Estimating Potential Reductions in SSI Overpayments by                     24
                           Improved Support Reporting


Appendix II                                                                                         25
Receipt and Reporting
of Child Support
Services and Income
Through Three States’
CSE Programs for SSI
Children in
Single-Parent Families
Appendix III                                                                                        28
Comments From the
Social Security
Administration
Appendix IV                                                                                         29
Comments From the
Department of Health
and Human Services
Related GAO Products                                                                                30


Tables                   Table 1: Receipt of Child Support Services by Children Receiving            6
                           SSI in Single-Parent Families in Three States




                         Page 18                                   GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
Contents




Table 2: Parental Reporting of Child Support Collections by               10
  Three States’ CSE Programs for SSI Children in Single-Parent
  Families
Table 3: Estimated Annual SSI Overpayments Resulting From                 11
  Nonreporting of Child Support Collected by Three States’ CSE
  Programs
Table I.1: Calculation of Estimated Annual SSI Benefit                    23
  Reductions From Providing CSE Services to Additional SSI
  Children
Table II.1: Receipt and Reporting of Child Support Services and           25
  Income, SSI Children in Single-Parent Families in Florida, New
  York, and Texas
Table II.2: Recipient and Reporting of Child Support Services and         27
  Income Provided Through the Florida, New York, and Texas CSE
  Programs for Children Receiving SSI in Single-Parent Families in
  Other States




Abbreviations

CSE        Child Support Enforcement
HHS        Department of Health and Human Services
SSA        Social Security Administration
SSI        Supplemental Security Income
TANF       Temporary Assistance for Needy Families


Page 19                                  GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
Appendix I

Scope and Methodology


                         We examined the extent to which opportunities exist for reducing SSI
                         payments by increased receipt of services from and reporting of child
                         support income received through the CSE programs in three
                         states—Florida, New York, and Texas. We used SSA computerized records
                         to identify SSI children under age 18 in single-parent families nationwide.
                         We matched this information with data from the computerized CSE records
                         of Florida, New York, and Texas to determine which of these children
                         received CSE services and child support income and reported support
                         received to SSA. We then estimated potential reductions in SSI benefits that
                         could occur if CSE services were provided and support collected for
                         additional SSI children and if unreported child support was reported to SSA.

                         The period of review varied among the states because of the availability of
                         state CSE data. It covered the 12 months ending July 1998 in Florida, the 8
                         months ending August 1997 in New York, and the 12 months ending July
                         1997 in Texas. While we did not independently verify the accuracy of the
                         data, the SSI and the state CSE information systems are subject to periodic
                         quality assurance reviews, and the CSE records serve as the official state
                         records for purposes of administering the CSE programs. We did our work
                         between May 1997 and December 1998 in accordance with generally
                         accepted government auditing standards.


                         To identify children receiving SSI in single-parent families, we obtained
Identifying Children     from SSA extracts of the Supplemental Security Record—SSA’s main
Receiving SSI in         administrative files and payment record for the SSI program—of all SSI
Single-Parent Families   recipients with birth dates on or after July 1, 1979, who were receiving
                         benefits in September 1997. These records also indicated living
                         arrangements of the recipients and whether child support income was
                         being reported to SSA. Using these records, we identified children receiving
                         SSI who were living with only one natural or adoptive parent. More
                         specifically, we selected cases SSA coded as a child living with only a
                         mother or a father, or as living with both parents if the person to whom
                         benefits were paid was coded as being a stepparent. Also, we selected
                         these cases only if the payee of the benefits was also specified by SSA as a
                         natural or adoptive mother or father, or a stepparent. About 1,600 SSI
                         children lived in families with two parents, one of whom was a stepparent.
                         We did not include children in foster care, who constitute less than
                         3 percent of SSI children under 18, or children in institutions or other living
                         arrangements. Also, we excluded from our study children who had
                         reached age 18 in September 1998.




                         Page 20                                      GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
                        Appendix I
                        Scope and Methodology




                        To determine the extent to which children receiving SSI in single-parent
Determining Extent of   families received CSE services and had support collected for them and
Receipt and Reporting   reported to SSA, we obtained extracts of CSE records from the states of
of CSE Services and     Florida, New York, and Texas and matched these records with the SSA
                        records using the children’s names, months and years of birth, and Social
Support Collections     Security numbers. Since we obtained CSE records only from Florida, New
                        York, and Texas, we cannot generalize the results of our analysis to SSI
                        children nationwide.28

                        The state CSE records we obtained included all CSE cases active at any time
                        during January through August 31, 1997, in New York; August 1996
                        through July 31, 1997, in Texas; and July 1997 through mid-July 1998 in
                        Florida.29 These records indicated all child support collections made on
                        the cases during those time periods. In our calculations, we multiplied
                        New York’s CSE child support collections during the 8-month period by
                        1.516 to estimate a full year’s child support collections. We matched the
                        CSE records of New York and Texas against September 1997 SSA records of
                        SSI recipients under age 18 receiving benefits at that time. We matched the
                        Florida CSE records against July 1998 SSA records of children who had been
                        receiving SSI in September 1997.30

                        We considered as support that should have been reported for SSI benefit
                        determinations any support collections made by CSE for children receiving
                        SSI whose SSA record did not show child support income as having been
                        reported to SSA. We limited our work to nonreporting of child support—we
                        did not attempt to identify underreporting by comparing amounts of
                        support collected by CSE with amounts reported to SSA.

                        When there was more than one child on a CSE case, we calculated the
                        amount of support collected for the SSI child by dividing the total amount
                        of support collected by the number of children involved in the CSE case.
                        This was necessary because CSE collection amounts on the records we




                        28
                          SSI children living outside these three states—and receiving CSE services—would not have a record
                        in the Florida, New York, or Texas CSE program unless the children’s state of residence requested
                        services from these three states.
                        29
                          Some families may receive state child support services other than those provided by the CSE
                        agencies, including assistance with the collection and disbursement of child support payments subject
                        to income withholding. Such services were not within the scope of this study.
                        30
                         About 12 percent of the children under age 18 in single-parent families in Florida receiving SSI as of
                        September 1997 were no longer receiving benefits as of July 1998 and were not included in the
                        analysis. We did not identify children who began receiving SSI between September 1997 and July 1998.



                        Page 21                                                   GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
                       Appendix I
                       Scope and Methodology




                       obtained were not separately identified by child.31 In addition, it is possible
                       that in a case where other children in a family received TANF, support
                       collected for an SSI child may have been inappropriately retained by the
                       government along with support collected for the children receiving TANF,
                       or that, in a case where an SSI child formerly received TANF, support
                       collected may have been retained by the government as recoupment for
                       prior TANF payments. In these situations, the support we attributed to an
                       SSI child would not have been reportable to SSA because it was not received
                       by the family. From the computerized files we reviewed, we could not
                       determine precisely how much collected support was distributed to
                       families.


                       We based our estimates of the potential annual SSI benefit reductions that
Estimating Potential   could occur if more SSI children received CSE services on the number of SSI
SSI Benefit            children we identified as not receiving services. We identified as not
Reductions From        receiving CSE services SSI children who did not have a CSE record and did
                       not have child support income reported on their SSA record.32
Increased Receipt of
Child Support          To estimate potential annual SSI benefit reductions, we assumed that the
                       states’ CSE programs would collect support for only the same proportion of
Services and           SSI recipients not receiving CSE services as the program was collecting for
Collections            those receiving services. We further assumed that (1) the CSE system could
                       collect for each SSI recipient not receiving CSE services an amount of
                       support equal to the median amount collected for SSI recipients receiving
                       services and (2) each SSI recipient not receiving CSE services was receiving
                       the median SSI benefit received by all SSI potential child support recipients
                       who were not receiving CSE services.

                       As shown in table I.1, we calculated the total amount of potential annual
                       support collections by multiplying the total estimated number of cases to
                       be collected on by the median annual support amount collected. We
                       multiplied this by 66 percent to derive the total amount of annual support
                       collections countable as income for SSI, which in this case represented the
                       amount of potential annual SSI benefit reductions.33

                       31
                        The amount of child support ordered to be paid can vary for children in the same family by the ages
                       of the children, when the orders were issued, and other individual family circumstances.
                       32
                         There may have been SSI children who first received CSE services in the month of September 1997
                       through the New York CSE program or in the months of August and/or September through the Texas
                       program that we counted as not receiving CSE services because the CSE records we obtained did not
                       include those months.
                       33
                        The Social Security Act specifically provides that one-third of child support income be excluded from
                       determining income for eligibility of children for SSI benefits.



                       Page 22                                                   GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
                                               Appendix I
                                               Scope and Methodology




Table I.1: Calculation of Estimated Annual SSI Benefit Reductions From Providing CSE Services to Additional SSI Children
Factor and computation                                                           Florida New York         Texas          Total
Additional SSI children in the state to receive CSE services (CSE record not found
and no child support income reported on SSA record)                                            12,726         20,817          14,296         47,839
Multiplied by collection rate for other SSI children in the state for whom CSE                                                               Not
collects child support                                                                            32.4%          20.9%          39.4% applicable
Yields additional SSI recipients in the state for whom CSE will collect child support           4,128           4,355          5,636         14,119
Multiplied by median annual collections per other SSI children in the state for                                                                 Not
whom CSE makes collections                                                                       $487           $350            $501     applicable
Yields estimated annual support collections                                               $2,010,247 $1,524,931 $2,825,468 $6,360,646
Multiplied by percentage of child support counted as income for SSI                                                                           Not
                                                                                                    66%            66%             66% applicable
Yields estimated SSI benefit reductionsa                                                  $1,326,763 $1,006,454 $1,864,809 $4,198,026
                                               Note: Intermediate calculations appear inexact because intermediary numbers are shown in
                                               rounded numbers, whereas actual calculations use nonrounded numbers.
                                               a
                                                Had 66 percent of the median child support collection been greater than the median SSI benefit,
                                               estimated benefit reductions would be limited to the amount of SSI benefits. Median SSI benefits
                                               received by SSI children not receiving CSE services were $5,928 in Florida, $5,870 in New York,
                                               and $5,808 in Texas.



                                               We did not directly assess the potential for child support collections
                                               among the SSI children not currently receiving services, and thus our
                                               estimate of SSI reductions may be understated or overstated. Some
                                               research indicates that a significant portion of noncustodial parents may
                                               have limited ability to pay child support, and it is possible that many of
                                               those custodial parents that have not pursued child support through the
                                               CSE program are associated with the noncustodial parents least able to
                                               pay. If that were so, our estimate would overstate the potential for child
                                               support collections among those not currently receiving child support
                                               services. However, we did not have information on the socioeconomic
                                               characteristics of the SSI children and their noncustodial parents needed to
                                               assess their ability to pay. In addition, the potential SSI benefit reductions
                                               we estimated may be overstated if some of the SSI recipients for whom we
                                               did not find a CSE record were already receiving child support income but
                                               not reporting it to SSA or had earlier received CSE services but had their
                                               cases closed, for example, because the identity of the noncustodial parent
                                               was not known, the noncustodial parent could not be located,34 or the




                                               34
                                                Federal regulations allow case closure after repeated attempts to locate noncustodial parents using
                                               multiple sources over 3 years.



                                               Page 23                                                   GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
                       Appendix I
                       Scope and Methodology




                       noncustodial parent died.35 Also, some SSI children may have received CSE
                       services, but we did not find a CSE record because the Social Security
                       number and/or name and month and year of birth of the SSI child was in
                       error on either the SSA or CSE record.


                       We estimated the annual reduction in SSI overpayments that would occur if
Estimating Potential   all unreported child support collected for SSI recipients by the Florida,
Reductions in SSI      New York, and Texas CSE programs were reported to SSA for SSI benefit
Overpayments by        determinations. The estimated overpayment reduction that could occur for
                       SSI children if unreported CSE collected support were reported to SSA is
Improved Support       equivalent, for each child, to 66 percent of the annual amount of child
Reporting              support collected by CSE or the annual SSI benefit, whichever is less. We
                       performed this comparison for each SSI child recipient whose CSE record
                       indicated that support collections were made but their companion SSI
                       record did not indicate child support income had been reported. The
                       summation of these amounts for all cases represents the total estimated
                       overpayment reductions.




                       35
                        However, our work does consider such cases to some extent. The CSE cases against which we
                       matched did include some closed cases—those either closed or identified for closure during the
                       periods of our review.



                       Page 24                                                  GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
Appendix II

Receipt and Reporting of Child Support
Services and Income Through Three States’
CSE Programs for SSI Children in
Single-Parent Families
Table II.1: Receipt and Reporting of Child Support Services and Income, SSI Children in Single-Parent Families in Florida,
New York, and Texas
                               Residing in Florida    Residing in New York       Residing in Texas       Total, three states
                                 Number       Percent       Number     Percent   Number         Percent     Number         Percent
Not receiving CSE servicesra
No child support income
reported to SSAb                    12,726          42       20,817        50     14,296             58       47,839             49
Child support income
reported to SSA                      1,498              5     1,384         3       1,618             7        4,500              5
Subtotal, not receiving
services                            14,224          47       22,201        53     15,914             65       52,339             54
                          c
Receiving CSE services
Child support being collectedd
No child support income
reported to SSA                      3,707e         12        2,741f        7       2,050g            8        8,498              9
Child support income
reported to SSA                      1,559              5     1,406         3       1,378             6        4,343              4
Subtotal, support being
collected                            5,266          17        4,147        10       3,428            14       12,841             13
Child support not being collected
No child support income
reported to SSA                     10,388          34       15,197        36       5,065            21       30,650             32
Child support income
reported to SSA                       581               2      481          1        203              1        1,265              1
Subtotal, child support not
being collected                     10,966          36       15,678        37       5,268            21       31,915             33
Subtotal, receiving services        16,235          53       19,825        47       8,696            35       44,756             46
     h
Total                               30,459        100        42,026       100     24,610            100       97,095           100

                                                                                                          (Table notes on next page)




                                              Page 25                                        GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
Appendix II
Receipt and Reporting of Child Support
Services and Income Through Three States’
CSE Programs for SSI Children in
Single-Parent Families




Note: Data are for children under age 18 as of July 1997 and who had not reached age 18 by
September 1998, residing with only one natural or adoptive parent, and receiving SSI in Florida as
of July 1998 and in New York or Texas as of September 1997.
a
 For whom we did not find a state CSE record for the 12 months ending mid-July 1998 in Florida;
the 8 months ending August 31, 1997, in New York; and the 12 months ending July 31, 1997, in
Texas.
b
    SSA records did not indicate child support had been reported.
c
Children receiving SSI in single-parent families for whom we found CSE computerized records.
d
    CSE records indicated child support had been collected for the SSI child.
e
 We also found 366 SSI recipients from other states for whom the Florida CSE program collected
child support, but this income was not reported to SSA.
f
 We also found 1,275 SSI recipients from other states for whom the New York CSE program
collected child support, but this income was not reported to SSA.
g
 We also found 293 SSI recipients from other states for whom the Texas CSE program collected
child support, but this income was not reported to SSA.
h
Numbers do not add because of rounding.




Page 26                                                     GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
                                            Appendix II
                                            Receipt and Reporting of Child Support
                                            Services and Income Through Three States’
                                            CSE Programs for SSI Children in
                                            Single-Parent Families




Table II.2: Recipient and Reporting of Child Support Services and Income Provided Through the Florida, New York, and
Texas CSE Programs for Children Receiving SSI in Single-Parent Families in Other States
                             Served by Florida CSE     Served by New York     Served by Texas CSE
                                    program                CSE program              program              Total, three states
                                  Number        Percent       Number         Percent       Number         Percent      Number         Percent
                              a
Child support being collected
No child support income
reported to SSAb                     366              17         1,275             18            293             17         1,934               17
Child support income
reported to SSA                      196               9           298               4           158             9           652                 6
Subtotal, support being
collected                            562              26         1,573             22            451             26         2,586               23
Child support not being collected
No child support income
reported to SSA                     1,464             69         5,129             70          1,204             70         7,797               70
Child support income
reported to SSA                      106               5           583               8            56             3           745                 7
Subtotal, support not being
collected                           1,570             74         5,712             78          1,260             74         8,542               77
Total                               2,132           100          7,285            100          1,711            100      11,128            100
                                            Note: Data are for children under age 18 as of July 1997 and who had not reached 18 by
                                            September 1998, residing with only one natural or adoptive parent, and receiving SSI in July 1998
                                            for children served by the Florida CSE program and in September 1997 for children served by
                                            New York and Texas CSE programs.
                                            a
                                            CSE records indicated child support had been collected for the SSI recipient.
                                            b
                                                SSA records did not indicate child support had been reported.




                                            Page 27                                                    GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
Appendix III

Comments From the Social Security
Administration




               Page 28        GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
Appendix IV

Comments From the Department of Health
and Human Services




              Page 29        GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
Related GAO Products


              Supplemental Security Income: Action Needed on Long-Standing Problems
              Affecting Program Integrity (GAO/HEHS-98-158, Sept. 14, 1998).

              Welfare Reform: Child Support an Uncertain Income Supplement for
              Families Leaving Welfare (GAO/HEHS-98-168, Aug. 3, 1998).

              Child Support Enforcement: Certification Process for State Information
              Systems (GAO/AIMD-98-134, June 15, 1998).

              Supplemental Security Income: Opportunities Exist for Improving
              Payment Accuracy (GAO/HEHS-98-75, Mar. 27, 1998).

              Child Support Enforcement: Strong Leadership Required to Maximize
              Benefits of Automated Systems (GAO/AIMD-97-72, June 30, 1997).

              Supplemental Security Income: Timely Data Could Prevent Millions in
              Overpayments to Nursing Home Residents (GAO/HEHS-97-62, June 3, 1997).

              Supplemental Security Income: Administrative and Program Savings
              Possible by Directly Accessing State Data (GAO/HEHS-96-163, Aug, 29, 1996).

              Supplemental Security Income: SSA Efforts Fall Short in Correcting
              Erroneous Payments to Prisoners (GAO/HEHS-96-152, Aug. 30, 1996).




(116000)      Page 30                                     GAO/HEHS-99-11 SSI and Child Support
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