History of SSA During the Johnson Administration 1963-1968


With an increase of more than 36 percent in the foreign beneficiary roll in the period from 1963 through early 1968, the Social Security Administration, with the cooperation of the Department of State, has placed major emphasis on ensuring the continuing integrity and efficiency of the foreign program. To this end, primary stress has been placed on achieving social security representation in key locations abroad and continuing the systematic validation of foreign beneficiary rolls by rechecking the entitlement and continuing eligibility of beneficiaries on a country-by-country basis. Both of these projects have reduced the balance of payments deficit through more efficient and effective handling of social security work and the prevention and correction of incorrect payments.

The Social Security Administration is now represented in Athens, Guadalajara, and Manila by technical advisors, the first two of whom are attached to the Foreign Service posts. The representative in Athens heads the Federal Benefits Unit which handles benefit matters for all Federal agencies, and also serves as social security program director for Turkey, where the Social Security Administration has enlisted the assistance of the Foreign Service posts in administering stringent procedures to combat the high incidence of fraudulent activities in connection with social security claims. The technical advisor in Guadalajara also serves as social security program director for the country and as advisor to all Foreign Service posts in Mexico. The social security representative in Manila works through the Veterans Administration Regional Office, which handles all social security matters in the Philippines.

In addition to the three technical advisors abroad, the Social Security Administration has reached an agreement with the Department of State to train the consular officer in Rome to assume the functions and responsibilities of technical advisor to the Foreign Service posts in Italy, which has the largest beneficiary roll of any foreign country and a large volume of claims activity. This agreement will significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of social security work in Italy, and that work in the United States which requires Italian documentation.

In 1963, an interagency ad hoc committee consisting of all Federal Benefit Agencies and the Department of State was formed by the Bureau of the Budget to examine, by statistical sampling methods, the accuracy of benefit payments abroad. As the Social Security Administration had already conducted on-the-scene studies in Greece and Turkey, it was assigned the lead in conducting the surveys. After surveys were conducted in four countries, the Social Security Administration prepared the report entitled "Interagency Survey of Federal Benefit Programs in France, Ireland, Italy, and Yugoslavia" (copy attached), and the committee met to evaluate the results. The Bureau of the Budget endorsed the surveys as a valuable policing tool. The ad-hoc committee was dissolved but the Bureau of the Budget requested that the validation surveys abroad be continued. Validation surveys have now been conducted in 13 countries: Canada, the Cape Verde Islands, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan and, the Ryukyu Islands, Mexico, the Philippine Islands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Yugoslavia. These countries represent approximately 70 percent of the total foreign roll. In each instance, the survey was carried out with the cooperation and assistance of the Foreign Service posts.

Based on decisions made by the Department of State and the Bureau of the Budget, the Social Security Administration has also cooperated, along with various other Federal agencies, in the payment of benefits in local currency (counterpart funds) in countries where the United States possesses a supply of local currency in excess of that needed to meet normal obligations. These countries include Bolivia, Burma, Finland, Ghana, Indonesia, Israel, Morocco, Pakistan, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Republic, and Yugoslavia. In Bolivia, Finland, Taiwan, and Turkey, the United States has depleted its supply of surplus local currency and reverted to dollar payments, but local currency is still being used in the remaining areas. This program has contributed to a favorable balance of overseas payments.{1}

During the first half of 1968 the Social Security Administration worked with the State Department in concluding agreements with various foreign countries regarding the payment of their social security benefits to United States citizens living outside those countries. These agreements arose out of provisions of the 1967 Amendments to the Social Security Act which placed limitations upon payment to persons outside the United States if their country of citizenship had restrictions upon payment of benefits to United States citizens.

Training Programs for Foreign Officials Conducted by the Social Socurity Administration in Cooperation vith the Agency for International Development

Under an agreement dated March 3, 1966, between the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Agency for International Development, the Social Security Administration provides the Agency for International Development with a number of training services, of which the following are the most important:

Individual Participant Training -- Technical training programs are designed for foreign administrators of social security systems. Through observation, consultation, and actual work assignments, participants study the organization, methods, and techniques needed to economically administer a sound social security system. Training programs are tailored in time and content, to fit the specific needs of individuals and their countries. The Social Security Administration also provides training for other Agency for International Development sponsored foreign officials, who, although not necessarily involved in administering social security systems, are interested in learning about a specific operational or management activity such as automated data processing, personnel management, maintenance of records, etc.{2}

Social Security Seminars -- Each year a two and one-half month seminar in the administration of social security, sponsored by the Agency for International Development and conducted by the Social Security Administration, is held for a group of foreign officials. Through a formalized program of discussions, observations, and study, participants examine modern social security management methods and techniques. The seminar allowsfor an interchange of ideas and explores alternate methods of administering a social security agency.{3}

Technical Assistance Missions -- Where it is impractical for foreign officials of social security agencies to visit the United States to learn about one particular phase or another involved in operating a social security system, the Agency for International Development will frequently request the services of a Social Security Administration technical expert to instruct the officials in their own country. These technical missions also provide the countries with technical experts in helping to solve administrative problems.

Footnotes (Footnote numbers not same as in the printed version)

{1} Report to the Bureau of the Budget on the Interagency Survey of Federal Benefit Programs in France, Ireland, Italy and Yugoslavia.

{2} Social Security Administration, International Program of Observation, Consultation, and Technical Training, published by SSA's Office (then Division) of Research and Statistics.

{3} Fifth Annual International Seminar on Administration of Social Security 1968.