OIG Summary Report
Social Security Audit
Individual Representative Payees Who Do Not Have a Social Security Number in the Social Security Administration’s
OIG in its February 2017 report was tasked with determining whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) had adequate controls to ensure it recorded individual representative payees’ Social Security numbers (SSN) in its payment records.
SSA is required to obtain the SSNs of representative payee applicants. SSA then uses the representative payee’s SSN to (1) verify the payee’s identifying information; (2) determine whether the payee applicant is receiving Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income; (3) determine whether the applicant is a convicted felon; and (4) determine whether the applicant previously served as a representative payee and
has a history of poor payee performance or misuse. It’s group is then tasked with keeping records up-to-date and checking for problems.
In its findings summary, OIG reported SSA needed 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.
In their sampling OIG identified 224,264 beneficiaries in current pay status who had an individual representative payee who did not have his/her SSN recorded on the MBR/SSR. They found in the recipient sampling also that 150,257 beneficiaries had an individual representative payee who had a valid SSN that SSA should have recorded on the MBR/SSR.
Of those in the sampling, some 26,912 beneficiaries had representative payees whom, according to eRPS, SSA had terminated or not selected. Also noted was from October 2004 to September 2016, SSA paid these representative payees about $853.1 million. It was determined by OIG that unless SSA takes corrective action, the current forecast was that this group of representative payees could receive about $189.6 million in benefits annually.
Because proper procedures appeared not to have been followed, OIG also found about 22,000 people who actually
had no social security number nor had their paper applications been retained. These people had from April 2006 to September 2016 been paid by about $1 billion; their estimated amount of cost to SSA would be about $182.5 million in benefits annually if not corrected.
The report ended with three main suggested changes to be done to which Social Security agreed.
I know my math skills have deteriorated since I retired but even I can see that from 2006 – 2016, nearly $2 Billion had been paid incorrectly. More importantly that figure was ONLY for those sampled. How much more has flowed out of the system to deceased, improperly documented, undocumented, illegal aliens, or criminals? I’m going to guess most of us would need a barf bag or someone to pick us up off the floor as we fainted.
After scanning through some of their investigative reports like the ongoing $500 million conspiracy, I have no doubt that the Social Security office is either far short of needed personnel, being run by lax management, that some within the agency might somehow be assisting those who would attempt to suck it dry, or that all of them apply.