2011 Annual Report of the SSI Program

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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. Projections of program recipients and costs through at least 25 years are a required element of these reports. This report is the fifteenth of such reports.
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 2011, 7.7 million individuals received monthly Federal SSI payments averaging $478, up from 7.5 million recipients with an average payment of $476 in January 2010.
Federal expenditures for cash payments under the SSI program during calendar year 2010 increased 4.1 percent to $47.8 billion, while the funds made available to administer the SSI program in fiscal year 2010 increased 9.2 percent to $3.7 billion. In 2009 the corresponding program and administrative expenditures were $45.9 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively.
Major Findings of the Report
By 2035, the end of the 25-year projection period, we estimate that the Federal SSI recipient population will reach 9.9 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 we expect the current economic slowdown to temporarily generate additional growth beyond what we might expect from historical trends. We project that the percentage of the population receiving SSI will vary somewhat by age group, with the percentage for those age 65 or older declining throughout the projection period and the percentage for those under 65 continuing to increase over the next 4 years, but declining thereafter to a level slightly higher than the current percentage.
As a percentage of the total U.S. population, the number of Federal SSI recipients increased slightly from 2.37 percent in 2009 to 2.42 percent in 2010. We project this percentage to increase gradually to 2.60 percent of the population by 2035 due largely to the changing age distribution of the population.
We estimate that Federal expenditures for SSI payments in calendar year 2011 will increase by $1.5 billion to $49.3 billion, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2010 levels.
Federal SSI expenditures expressed as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) were 0.293 in 2008 and increased to 0.325 percent of GDP in 2009 due to the economic recession. After increasing slightly to 0.326 percent of GDP in 2010, we project that expenditures as a percentage of GDP will decrease slightly to 0.324 percent of GDP in 2011, and continue to decline thereafter to 0.244 percent of GDP by 2035.
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