Social Security overpayments are causing a serious debate among many Americans today, as a recent report reveals that the Social Security Administration has overpaid thousands of Americans a total of $1.3 billion in insurance benefits when they were in fact non-eligible. According to CNN Money this Friday, Sept. 13, a government watchdog found that up to 36,000 people have been raking in disability and insurance payments that they “should not be receiving,” says the report.
These potential overpayments in Social Security included in the watchdog’s statement start from January 2013 to now, and an estimated 36,000 people (contributing a total of nearly $1.3 billion) are getting “potential Social Security overpayments) from the national agency. These disability and associated insurance benefits are commonly available to Americans that have been medically deemed mentally or physically affected by a serious condition that does not allow them to work regularly.
In order to become eligible for these Social Security benefits, applicants must wait for a 5-month waiting period, during which total earnings cannot go over $1,000 each month, in addition to medical files. Yet the government accounting watchdog said that hundreds upon hundreds of U.S. peoples are receiving this benefit that often exceed the income amount.
One member who came forward in the report said he made nearly $100,000 in government-funded payments via Social Security during the past three years, but had still been making $22,000 already in the waiting period. A couple others were also included making substantial incomes but still receiving government aid — even when they were technically non-eligible applicants.
For their part, the SSA said its accuracy rate for paying disability benefits is well over 99%, but it is going to look into these potential Social Security overpayments in the near future.
"While our payment accuracy rates are very high, we recognize that even small payment errors cost taxpayers," a spokesperson affirmed. "We are planning to do an investigation and we will recoup any improper payments from beneficiaries. It is too soon to tell what caused these overpayments, but if we determine that fraud is involved, we will refer these cases to our Office of the Inspector General for investigation."