The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193) directs the Social Security Administration (SSA) to report annually to the President and to the Congress on the status of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. A required element of these reports is to provide projections of program recipients and costs through at least 25 years. This report is the thirteenth of such reports, and following are its major highlights and findings.
Highlights of the SSI Program
The SSI program is a nationwide Federal assistance program administered by SSA that guarantees a minimum level of income for needy aged, blind, or disabled individuals. It acts as a safety net for individuals who have limited resources and little or no Social Security or other income.
In January 2009, 7.2 million individuals received monthly Federal SSI payments averaging $474, up slightly from 7.1 million recipients with an average payment of $445 in January 2008. [D]
Federal expenditures for cash payments under the SSI program during calendar year 2008 increased 6.4 percent to $42 billion, while the funds made available to administer the SSI program in fiscal year 2008 remained level at $2.9 billion. In calendar year 2007 the corre­sponding Federal program expenditures were $39.5 billion.
Major Findings of the Report
By 2033, the end of the 25-year projection period, the Federal SSI recipient population is estimated to reach 9.7 million. The projected growth in the SSI program over the 25-year period is largely due to the overall growth in the U.S. population, although the current economic recession is expected to temporarily generate additional growth beyond what might be expected from historical trends. The percentage of the population receiving SSI is projected to vary somewhat by age group, with the percentage for those age 65 or older projected to decline and the percentage for those under 65 projected to increase slightly.
Expressed as a percentage of the total U.S. population, the number of Federal SSI recipients increased slightly from 2.28 percent in 2007 to 2.31 percent in 2008 and is projected to increase gradually to 2.56 percent of the population by 2033 due largely to the changing age distribution of the population.
When compared to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Federal SSI expenditures are projected to temporarily increase from the 2008 level of 0.29 percent of GDP due to the effects of the economic recession, but thereafter gradually decline over time to 0.25 percent of GDP by 2033.
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