On Social Security Rolls: More Than 180,000 Dead People

A new report by the Social Security Administration’s inspector general found that 182,165 benefit recipients reported to the administration as deceased had not yet been entered in the Death Master File database.


In addition, 937 deceased recipients had earnings recorded 1 or more years after their deaths. The report also also found that “92 employers made 113 E-Verify inquiries for 78 deceased recipients and did not receive any indication from SSA that these individuals were deceased.”

“In addition, we found that [Help America Vote Verification] requests for 78 deceased recipients indicated they were not deceased. This would not have prevented an individual from voting under a deceased recipient’s identity.”

“Today’s report from the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General highlights a fundamental set of problems with how we report and keep track of deceased individuals,” said Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.). “Errors like this cost taxpayers millions of dollars in waste and fraud each year, and could be easily fixed by implementing some basic reforms. Preventing wasteful spending, including to deceased individuals, must be a higher priority.”


“I hope the Social Security Administration will take the findings in this report to heart and work to prevent these overpayments in the future,” he added.

“Every person – living or deceased – who is wrongfully added to the disability rolls takes dollars and benefits away from those who are truly disabled,” said Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). “This report underscores the need for the Social Security Administration to reform its broken system.”

The committee will hold a hearing to discuss the report Wednesday.



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