Feds Screw Up Over $1 Billion In Social Security Payments
Quick trivia buff information:
-Social Security numbers were first issued in November 1936.
-To date, 453.7 million different numbers have been issued.
-No, Social Security numbers (SSN) are not reassigned after the number holder’s death.
-About 5 and one-half million are issued new numbers a year.
-The current numbering system will provide enough new numbers for several generations into the future with no changes in the numbering system.
By now there is no shock when we are given proof of the abuse, fraud, corruption and total lack of oversight of federal government agencies. This one however, should be a real issue for millions of people near retirement age. Where is AARP and other watchdog groups who are supposed to be on top of such an important topic?
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in March 2016 published a fact sheet called “Fact Sheet: How much waste, fraud, and abuse is there in Social Security?” It covered solvency, deceased beneficiaries who continue to receive payments, a large amount of active social security numbers for people who were easily 80 to 115 years old along with links to disability payment problems etc.
Some in media have posted articles and expose’ on fraud but not many over the last three administrations were willing to tackle the problem head on for fear of harsh reprisal. Liberal media of course quickly posted soothing articles disclaiming the abuse and assuring the public that the problem was only minor or blown out of proportion. However, as seen below, the OIG shows these to be fake or contrived to cover up the truth.
“Each year, SSA issues over $900 billion in benefit payments to about 62 million people. Given the large overall dollars involved in SSA’s payments, even the slightest error in the overall process can result in millions of dollars of overpayments or underpayments.” OIG statement.
According to statistics posted by the Social Security Office, payments of SSI from January 2016-January 2017 totaled just shy of 100 billion dollars and reported the average payment was between $500-600 per person. Over half of those receiving payment were 18-64. A lot more currently public data about Social Security can be found HERE.
In case you believe that all those payments have been made only to US citizens, you need to know that the Social Security common questions sheet says the following:
Can noncitizens living in the United States receive Social Security benefits?
Yes, if they are lawfully in the United States and meet all eligibility requirements. Lawfully present noncitizens include, but are not limited to:
-Noncitizens lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA);
-Certain noncitizens admitted under other INA classifications that allow them to live and work in the United States;
-Noncitizens admitted under Family Unity or Immediate Relative provisions; and
-Other noncitizens who are fully insured for retirement, survivors or disability benefits, and who continue to meet U.S. lawful presence requirements.
-Noncitizens authorized to work in the United States who got a Social Security number after December 2003 can qualify for Social Security benefits.
Under what circumstances may a non-citizen be eligible for SSI?
A non-citizen (also called an “alien” for immigration purposes) may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if he or she meets the requirements of the laws for non–citizens that went into effect on August 22, 1996. In general, beginning August 22, 1996, most non-citizens must meet two requirements to be potentially eligible for SSI:
-be in a qualified alien category; and
-meet a condition that allows qualified aliens to get SSI.
—(There are seven categories of qualified aliens)
The February 2017 OIG report highlights ONE area of abuse.
Individual Representative Payees Who Do Not Have a Social Security Number in the Social Security Administration’s Payment Records – A-09-16-50159
Objective for the report was to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) had adequate controls to ensure it recorded individual representative payees’ Social Security numbers (SSN) in its payment records. Social Security failed.
SSA needs to improve controls to ensure it (a) records individual representative payees’ SSNs in its payment records and (b) retains the application for representative payees who do not have an SSN. Based on our random sample, we estimate that 150,257 beneficiaries had an individual representative payee who had a valid SSN that SSA should have recorded on the MBR/SSR. Of these, 26,912 beneficiaries had representative payees whom, according to eRPS, SSA had terminated or not selected. From October 2004 to September 2016, SSA paid these Representative payees about $853.1 million. Furthermore, unless it takes corrective action, we estimate SSA will pay these representative payees about $189.6 million in benefits annually.
In addition, we estimate that 22,426 beneficiaries had an individual representative payee who did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application. These
representative payees were not in eRPS. From April 2006 to September 2016, SSA paid these representative payees about $1 billion. Furthermore, unless it takes corrective action, we estimate SSA will pay these representative payees about $182.5 million in benefits annually.
Yet federal employees are able to access porn sites, play computer games, handle labor union activities, and generally piss away time each day? Niiiiiiiiiiiiice job.
The OIG report in December 2016 even highlighted that reporting methods was too narrowly focused and provided less than complete insight and reporting of over-payments. In other words, testing procedures and methods of reporting were sadly unacceptable to get a better picture of the whole Social Security issue. SS did recognize but did not apparently correct the reporting as of yet. Frankly year after year, time after time, OIG has noted failure of the Social Security Administration to address many issues from reporting to fraud to delayed disability determinations. SS failed.
OIG can recommend forever but who has had the teeth to get the recommendations and the department in good functioning order. No One up until now apparently. The biggest entitlement function of the government needs to be bleach cleaned and errors cited corrected now.
While a recipient myself, I do believe a serious audit and immediate change is necessary between government removal of funds, constant dire warnings of its immediate collapse, and all of the issues surrounding abuse, misuse, and outright theft.
Social Security funds were never meant to be a “withdrawal” bank for other government agencies. Under the 1935 law, what we now think of as Social Security only paid retirement benefits to the primary worker. A 1939 change in the law added survivors benefits and benefits for the retiree’s spouse and children. In 1956 disability benefits were added.
People have had funds removed every month for years and at some point when needed run up against a towering wall of regulations and qualifications. We need some assurance that at the end of our working history someone will have those funds ready for us to draw from and that the funds will have been well-managed and available.
Accountability and well-functioning are two words definitely lacking in a “big government” bureaucracy. But then it appears every time Democrats and progressives push their agendas, it is simply enabling bloated government, a “Pavlov” public, corruption, and bad oversight.