The PJ Tatler

We Pay Dead People: At Least $17.1M In Social Security Went to the Deceased

Washington Free Beacon’s Elizabeth Harrington reports on Wednesday’s Office of the Inspector General report, which found that not only did at least 740 people continue to receive direct deposit benefit payments after they passed away, but also that the SSA did not try to recover the money.

Writes Harrington:

The OIG based its results on the bank records of 58 deceased individuals, finding that the SSA had put $1,111,000 into their accounts. The agency only was able to recover $35,000 and “did not attempt to recover payments from the other beneficiaries.” Family members or others can withdraw the funds if they have access to the dead individual’s account.

Expanding their results to the entire beneficiary population, the OIG determined that a low estimate for improper direct deposit payments to dead people amounts to $17,103,880.

“We estimate SSA improperly paid 740 beneficiaries about $17 million after their deaths,” the audit said. “SSA would likely not recover these funds because of the delay in developing these cases.”

The OIG said “these results are likely understated.”

“We estimate there is at least $17,103,880 in outstanding payments deposited into bank accounts of beneficiaries in suspense status after the death of the beneficiary,” they said. “However, we believe the actual figure is likely higher because we limited our review to individuals in suspense for fewer than 7 years, residing in the United States, and those with higher monthly benefit amounts.”

The best part, in which the SSA accountants prove to be slightly more efficient at money management than the dead:

Of the OIG’s sample, the SSA only terminated benefits for six individuals, leaving the “remaining 52 in a suspended payment status.”