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Larson, Davis, Walorski, Reed Issue Statement on GAO Report on Benefits Paid to Foster Youth by the Social Security Administration

June 4, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, House Ways and Means Committee Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis and Ranking Member Jackie Walorski and Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson and Ranking Member Tom Reed released the following statement regarding GAO’s report on benefits paid to foster youth by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which was mandated by the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018:


“GAO’s report makes it evident we have work to do to make sure all foster youth receive and benefit from all SSA benefits for which they qualify and that benefits follow the child. Increasing the use of regular data exchanges between SSA and state foster care agencies is clearly necessary to ensure that benefits for youth in foster care are paid correctly, based on the large number of incorrect representative payees SSA identified in the small subset of states currently complying with SSA’s request to share data. The data we have suggests that the SSA benefits are not always being used as intended, in the youth’s best interest, although there appears to be wide variation among states. We are specifically concerned about the possibility that benefits are being paid to a parent or entity that no longer has custody of the child, and about reports that benefits are being used to help state budgets instead of children.”


“We plan to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration to get the information we need and do right by these vulnerable youth, many of whom have serious illnesses or disabilities in addition to being in foster care.”


Click here to view the GAO report.