Social Security Administration: Fugitive Felon Program Could Benefit from Better Use of Technology

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), is the largest cash assistance program in the United States. For fiscal year 2002, SSA expects to pay SSI benefits totaling $31.5 billion to more than six million financially needy individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled. Since becoming operational in August 1996, the fugitive felon program has provided a valuable service by helping SSA to identify and prevent payments to ineligible SSI benefits recipients and helping law enforcement agencies to locate and ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 6, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), is the largest cash assistance program in the United States. For fiscal year 2002, SSA expects to pay SSI benefits totaling $31.5 billion to more than six million financially needy individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled. Since becoming operational in August 1996, the fugitive felon program has provided a valuable service by helping SSA to identify and prevent payments to ineligible SSI benefits recipients and helping law enforcement agencies to locate and and apprehend fugitive felons. Nevertheless, several technological and other barriers are contributing to inefficiencies in the program's operations. Certain information systems that SSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) use in processing matched data are not interoperable or compatible, thus also hindering the efficient exchange of warrant information. Contributing to these inefficiencies is that no one office within SSA has been designated to oversee and manage the overall performance of the fugitive felon program. Consequently, no program officials could explain the overall data sharing and matching process. Largely because of the SSA's and states' limited uses of information technology to support the fugitive felon program, many state law enforcement agencies have been reluctant to enter into data-matching agreements with SSA. According to SSA and law enforcement officials, among the factors that made some states reluctant to enter into the agreements were that some states did not maintain central repositories of warrant information and SSA's guidance for formatting, downloading, and manually transmitting the information created additional resource requirements that some states were unable to meet. The enactment of legislation prohibiting OASI and DI payments to fugitive felons could increase SSA's recovery of improperly paid benefits and prevent more potentially dangerous fugitives from fleeing justice. However, the additional matches of warrant records against OASI and DI recipient files could substantially increase the data processing workloads of both SSA and the FBI's Information Technology Center. SSA may be able to improve the fugitive felon program's operational efficiency and outcomes by exploring its existing telecommunications connectivity supporting other federal, state, and local programs. SSA currently has direct, on-line connections with every state that transmits and receives data supporting various other programs, including its program to suspend SSI, OASI, and DI benefits to prisoners."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 6, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Social Security Administration: Fugitive Felon Program Could Benefit from Better Use of Technology, report, September 6, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295250/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.