These individuals have received $1.3 billion which they were not entitled to obtain and the SSA hopes to recoup some.
Estimates released from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has shown that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued approximately $1.3 billion in disability insurance payments to individuals who were not eligible to receive them.
This figure was calculated based on an analysis of SSA data for beneficiaries from December 2010 to January 2013.
The analysis was conducted on the SSA data regarding the individuals who were recipients of disability insurance payments during that time. The estimates in the statement from the GAO were that $1.29 billion in cash benefits had been overpaid to a total of approximately 36,000 people.
The GAO stated that these disability insurance overpayments underscore the procedural system weaknesses.
It said that even though the amount of the disability insurance payments and the number of beneficiaries who received them made up under one percent of each, it still underscores the procedural system weaknesses of the administration. According to Oklahoma’s Senator Tom Coburn, the ranking Republican from the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, “This report demonstrates just how little importance the Social Security Administration places on policing its disability rolls.”
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He also went on to state that “SSA has known for years that it could prevent millions of dollars in improper disability payments using quarterly wage records, but chose not to.” In order to qualify to receive disability insurance payments, beneficiaries are required to wait for five months, during which time they may earn a maximum of $1,000 per month. As a result of the obligatory waiting period, the administration can be certain that the coverage is being paid to individuals who have disabilities over the longer term.
The GAO conducted a search within a federal wage database and, with that data, was capable of determining that there were people who had received disability insurance payments despite the fact that they had earned significant wages during what was meant to be the waiting period. It also determined that there were others who had returned to work during what is referred to as a trial work period and were earning benefits far longer than the cut-off period of nine months.