ERIC Number: ED392970
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
PASS Program. SSA Work Incentive for Disabled Beneficiaries Poorly Managed. Report to the Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate, and the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives.
General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Health, Education, and Human Services Div.
The General Accounting Office reviewed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) program, which was established in 1972 to help disability benefit recipients return to employment. The study evaluated the SSA's management of the PASS program, including the program's impact on employment, and sought to determine whether the PASS program is vulnerable to abuse. Data were gathered through interviews with staff in SSA's headquarters, review of PASS program regulations and guidance, observation of an SSA work group considering program changes, site visits to 19 field offices in 7 states with interviews of staff and PASS recipients, and analysis of program data. The study found that the SSA has done a poor job in implementing and managing the PASS program. The number of persons coming into the program (which allows participants to set aside some earnings for job training or education without loss of benefits) has grown fivefold in the past 5 years, without a corresponding increase in trained persons leaving the SSA rolls. The SSA has not collected sufficient management data on PASS program participation and outcomes and has not defined clear program goals. Therefore, the agency is unable to monitor the program's effectiveness. In addition, inadequate internal controls such as minimal or nonexistent participation requirements, broad and nonstandardized guidance and compliance reviews, and lack of SSA policy regarding third-party PASS preparers compromise the program's integrity. Although the SSA is aware of and is addressing some of these weaknesses, it cannot provide assurance that funds are spent properly. Several recommendations were made to address program eligibility, management, support to field office staff, data collection, and program evaluation and internal controls. (Appendixes to the report contain PASS documents, site visit data, participant characteristics, comments from the SSA on the evaluation, and names of persons contacted.) (KC)
Descriptors: Adults, Disabilities, Federal Programs, Incentives, Outcomes of Education, Program Administration, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation, Program Implementation, Retraining, Vocational Rehabilitation
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015 (first copy free; additional copies $2 each; 100 or more: 25% discount).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Health, Education, and Human Services Div.