Social Security shelled out $17 bn in overpayments for disability benefits

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Social Security’s personal watchdog discovered waste, fraud and abuse in its disability program, citing circumstances the place benefits had been paid to disqualified, imprisoned and deceased folks. Over 15 million disabled Americans depend on the soon-to-be-insolvent program.

A 10-year examine by the Social Security Administration Inspector General’s workplace discovered $17 billion in overpayments of disability benefits. Recipients have been discovered to incorporate individuals who earned an excessive amount of to qualify for this system or have been now not disabled, in addition to these deceased or in jail. Nearly half of the 9 million who obtained disability funds had been overpaid. The company tried to recoup about $8.1 billion, but it surely took years for the cash to be returned, in keeping with the examine.

A spokesman for the Social Security Administration stated the company has excessive accuracy charges for funds and a complete debt assortment program for overpayments, in keeping with the Associated Press.

“Social Security provides services to over 48 million retirement and survivors beneficiaries and about 15 million disability beneficiaries,” Social Security spokesman Mark Hinkle stated in an e mail to AP. “The agency will issue nearly $1 trillion in payments this year. For fiscal year 2013 — the last year for which we have complete data — approximately 99.8 percent of all Social Security payments were free of overpayment, and nearly 99.9 percent were free of underpayment.”

The examine used a pattern of over 1,500 randomly chosen folks receiving both Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income (a separate program for the poor) in October 2002, and tracked the group for 10 years till February 2014. It discovered 45 p.c of the beneficiaries have been overpaid in some unspecified time in the future in the course of the interval for a complete quantity of $2.9 million and estimates that Social Security made a complete of $16.Eight million overpayments in the course of the 10-year interval. Disability benefits amounted to about $14,000 a 12 months or $1,165 a month.

The examine stated “the agency could do more to prevent the most common overpayments.”

In one occasion a person continued to obtain disability benefits beneath his father’s Social Security quantity whereas he was working and hiding his earnings. The man was convicted of fraud in 2005, and ordered by the decide to repay almost $18,000. So far the company has obtained $550.

The belief fund that helps Social Security’s disability program is projected to run out of cash in late 2016, triggering computerized profit cuts of 19 p.c, until Congress acts.

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