2016 Annual Report of the SSI Program

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C. Federal Payments Under SSI
To estimate future amounts of Federal expenditures under SSI, we first modify the projected Federal benefit rates (table IV.A2) to reflect actual payment levels, taking into account historical and projected levels of adjustments for other actual or deemed income, marital status, and living arrangements. We combine these actual payment levels with the projected numbers of persons receiving Federal SSI payments to generate estimates of the amounts of Federal SSI payments. Table IV.C1 shows historical amounts of such payments by calendar year. We compute these payment amounts on a payment-date basis, which is consistent with the concepts used to define SSI obligations for the Federal Budget. As a result, for months after January 1978, when SSI payments are due on the first of the month and the first of the month falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, we tabulate these payments in the previous month.1
 
Table IV.C1.—SSI Federal Payments in Current Dollars,a Calendar Years 1974‑2016
1978 b
2008 c
2016d

a
Total historical payments for 1974-77 agree with those presented in the Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin. Total historical payments for 1978-83 are estimated.

b
Includes 13 months of payments since payments due on January 1, 1978 and January 1, 1979 were both paid in calendar year 1978.

c
Payments for 2008 include $1.4 billion for SSI checks mailed in late December 2008, but reported by the Department of the Treasury in January 2009.

d
Partially estimated.

Note: Totals do not necessarily equal the sums of rounded components. We estimate the historical split among age groups on a calendar year of age basis.
 
Since we use this payment-date concept, payments in table IV.C1 differ from similar amounts in other SSA publications, such as the Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, in two main ways. First, tabulations of payments in the Annual Statistical Supplement group payments by the month the payment is due, while table IV.C1 groups payments by the month in which we actually make the payments. In particular, since January 1 of each year is a Federal holiday, SSI payments due on January 1 of years 1979 and later are actually paid in December of the previous year. For example, the calendar year 2015 payment amounts shown in table IV.C1 reflect payments made in January-December 2015, and include the payments due on January 1, 2016 (which were actually paid in December 2015), but not the payments due on January 1, 2015 (which were actually paid in December 2014). Second, beginning in 1991, SSA remitted overpayment recoveries directly to the Department of the Treasury and did not use them to reduce SSI obligations as accounted for in the Federal Budget. Tabulations in the Annual Statistical Supplement continue to report payment amounts that are reduced by such overpayment recoveries.
Table IV.C2 presents corresponding amounts of SSI outlays on a fiscal year basis for fiscal years2 1978-2016. We omit fiscal years prior to 1978 because SSI payment amounts are not readily available on a fiscal year basis for these years. As with the calendar year figures, we show these fiscal year amounts on a payment-date basis. Consequently, fiscal year totals may contain 11, 12, or 13 months of payments.3
1979 a
2016b

a
Payment due on October 1 of fiscal year paid in previous fiscal year.

b
Partially estimated.

Note: Totals do not necessarily equal the sums of rounded components. We estimate the historical split among age groups on a calendar year of age basis.
Price inflation can make it difficult to make meaningful comparisons of dollar amounts over longer periods of time. For this reason, it is desirable to have some means of adjusting for inflation from the 25-year projections of SSI expenditures. The CPI, which we discuss in section IV.A, is an appropriate means of price-adjusting historical and projected SSI costs over time. Table IV.C3 presents CPI-indexed dollar values of Federal SSI payments (those adjusted by the CPI) for both the historical period, calendar years 1974-2015, and the full 25-year projection period, 2016-2040. We present this same information as a graph in figure IV.C1. We use the projections of the CPI from the intermediate economic assumptions of the 2016 OASDI Trustees Report.
 
 
Adjusted a CPI
1978 b