Access to Financial Institutions
During the initial claims process and later reviews of eligibility, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants and recipients are required to report their resources to ensure they are eligible for SSI. Our studies found that money above the resource limit held by SSI recipients is a leading cause of payment errors. As a result, we examined alternatives to the traditional SSI asset verification practices of recipient self-reporting and direct contacts with financial institutions. The Access to Financial Institutions (AFI) process is an effective means of reducing errors with those aspects of SSI.
AFI is an electronic process that verifies bank account balances with financial institutions for purposes of determining SSI eligibility. In addition to verifying alleged accounts, AFI detects undisclosed accounts by using a geographic search to generate requests to other financial institutions. AFI's purpose is to identify excess resources in financial accounts, which are a leading cause of SSI payment errors. We currently use the AFI system in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
|Quick Facts - AFI|
|Systems Integration||In March of 2012, we completed a major step towards full integration of AFI into our SSI automated claims systems. For most SSI initial claims and redeterminations, we automated electronic requests for financial information and the incorporation of that information into our Modernized SSI Claims System.|
|Full Implementation||Full implementation is defined as using AFI on every potential SSI claim and redetermination and assumes using a $0 tolerance level and up to 10 geographic searches for undisclosed accounts.|
|Program Savings Estimates||The Access to Financial Institutions initiative is an integral, cost-effective part of our financial account verification process used in SSI eligibility determinations and redeterminations to assess liquid resources. Assuming we had used our current account verification process on a long-term basis, the account verifications we would complete in fiscal year 2013 would yield an estimated $365 million in lifetime Federal SSI program savings consistent with a return on investment of about $9 to $1.
We are planning for full implementation of AFI. We continue to improve the AFI process through further automation of the request and response process.