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What GAO Found
During CDRs, disability recipients that SSA determines to have improved medically may be removed from the program; however, several factors may hinder SSA's ability to make this determination. In 2006, GAO reported that 1.4 percent of people who left the disability programs did so because SSA found that they had improved medically. At that time, GAO identified several factors that hindered SSA's ability to assess whether DI and SSI recipients met the medical improvement standard. These included: (1) limitations in SSA guidance for applying the standard; (2) inadequate documentation of prior disability determinations; (3) failure to abide with the requirement that CDR decisions be made on a neutral basis--without a presumption that the recipient remained disabled; and (4) the judgmental nature of the process for assessing medical improvement. Since 2006, SSA has taken some steps to address these issues; however, the agency has not fully clarified policies for assessing medical improvement, as GAO recommended.
Why GAO Did This Study
SSA administers DI and SSI, two disability programs that provided
In this statement, GAO describes (1) SSA's efforts to monitor DI and SSI beneficiaries' continued eligibility, and (2) factors associated with the medical improvement standard that affect these efforts. This testimony is primarily based on GAO products related to these issues from 2006 and 2012. GAO also updated selected information related to SSA's CDR backlog, budget requests, and guidance for assessing medical improvement as of 2014.
What GAO Recommends
GAO is not making any new recommendations at this time.
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