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Social Security: Disability Benefits for Drug Addicts and Alcoholics Are
Out of Control

(Testimony, 02/10/94, GAO/T-HEHS-94-101).

The number of drug addicts receiving Social Security disability benefits
has soared in recent years; about 250,000 addicts now receive disability
benefits at an annual cost of $1.4 billion. Despite the fact that half
of them qualify for benefits on the basis of their addiction alone, most
addicts are not required to be in treatment.  Finding qualified
representative payees to manage addicts' benefits has been a
long-standing problem for the Social Security Administration.  Most
payees are either friends or relatives.  In the absence of tight
controls, addicts are free to buy drugs and alcohol to maintain their
addictions.  GAO believes that organizational payees would be in a
better position to provide the strict controls needed over benefit
payments to addicts.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Social Security: Disability Benefits for Drug Addicts and
             Alcoholics Are Out of Control
      DATE:  02/10/94
   SUBJECT:  Disability benefits
             Social security benefits
             Program management
             Alcohol abuse
             Drug treatment
             Handicapped persons
             Drug abuse
             Questionable payments
             Eligibility criteria
             Internal controls
IDENTIFIER:  Social Security Disability Insurance Program
             Supplemental Security Income Program
             SSI Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Program
             Medicaid Program


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