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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 25, 1998
                     President Clinton's Radio Address
                                Fact Sheet
                              April 25, 1998

What the Social Security Administration Has Done to Crack Down on Fraud. The Social Security Administration must suspend Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to prisoners. SSA has developed relationships with Federal, State, and local prisons to share information about incarcerated individuals. Under this Administration, SSA has initiated additional efforts to cut off benefits to prisoners.

Sharing Data Saves Taxpayers $500 Million Each Year --$2.5 Billion Over the Next Five Years. As a result of this effort, SSA has data-sharing agreements with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, all State prisons, and the largest twenty-five local jail systems. In addition, SSA has forged agreements with over 3,500 local jails. Thanks to that effort, prisons and jails representing over 99 percent of the nation's inmate population are now reporting the names and Social Security numbers of incarcerated individuals to SSA. This initiative, together with other efforts with correctional facilities, saves SSA an estimated $500 million annually in reduced benefits --or $2.5 billion over the next five years.

Other Agencies Need Up-to-Date, Comprehensive Data. Other Federal benefit programs also have the legal authority to reduce, suspend, or terminate benefits to prisoners. To ensure that inmates are not abusing these programs, these agencies need up-to-date, comprehensive data from correctional institutions. In the past, each agency has relied upon its own information to enforce its program criteria, with no systematic efforts to prevent the improper collection of benefits.

The President's Initiative Expands Efforts to Stamp Out Fraud. Until now, no coordinated attempt has existed to share information among Federal agencies about incarcerated individuals. The Executive Memorandum the President signed today requires SSA to provide access to its computerized, up-to-date prisoner database to Federal agencies and the State and local governments that administer Federal benefit programs.

Within A Year, Agencies Will Be Using SSA Database To Cut Fraud. By Nov. 1, 1998 this Executive Memorandum requires that SSA have its database prepared for access by the appropriate agencies. From that day, agencies will have six months to put in place systems to access SSA's information and match it to their benefits rosters to determine if prisoners are receiving benefits improperly. When they discover illegalities, agencies will then take immediate action to suspend, reduce, or terminate benefits.

Reporting on Progress. The Commissioner of Social Security is required to report to the President within 180 days upon actions taken to implement this directive.

This Initiative Will Save Taxpayers an Estimated $200 Million. Expanding access to SSA's database to other agencies will save an estimated $200 million from FY 1998 to 2002.