An Official Website of the United States Government

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Social Security Administration

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs-based program for elderly individuals, as well as blind or disabled adults and children, who have limited income and resources.  General tax revenues are used to fund these program benefits.  In fiscal year 2009, nearly 7.7 million individuals received $42 billion in SSI payments to meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Agency Accountable Official: Carolyn Colvin, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security



Total Payments (Outlays)more info


Improper Paymentsmore info


Improper Payment Ratemore info


7.9% Improper Payment Rate Target more info

All amounts are in billions of dollars

Tabular view for Projected improper payments Tabular View   


Note: ¹  Please note that the data listed in the tables and graphs above are based on cases sampled in a prior year.  For example, the fiscal year 2010 improper payment rate of 10.0 percent that is stated above is based on cases sampled in fiscal year 2009.

Program Comments

Supplemental Security Income is a complex program because eligibility and monthly payments are highly sensitive to fluctuations in monthly income, resources, and living arrangements.  Improper payments often occur if recipients, or their representative payees, fail to timely report changes in any of these factors.

To determine payment accuracy, the Social Security Administration (SSA) samples program recipients to make certain they are being paid correctly.  SSA uses a statistically valid sample to determine the program payment accuracy rates.  From the sampled cases in fiscal year 2009 (which are reported on in fiscal year 2010),¹ the program’s projected overpayments were $4.0 billion, or 8.4 percent of benefits paid, an improvement from fiscal year 2008 when overpayments were 10.3 percent of benefits paid.  After several years of continuing decline in payment accuracy, SSA reversed the trend in fiscal year 2009.  The program strives to balance service delivery with integrity activities which ensure that recipients continue to meet eligibility requirements.  The program’s projected underpayments totaled $787 million representing 1.6 percent of payments in fiscal year 2009.  The underpayment rate has remained relatively constant. Read More...