Non-receipt of Social Security Benefits Due to Unauthorized Direct Deposit Changes

Date: 
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Report Number: 
A-02-13-23004
Report Type: 
Audit Report
Office Affiliation: 

Beginning March 1, 2013, most beneficiaries are required to receive their payments through direct deposit rather than paper checks. Because of this new requirement, the Social Security Administration (SSA) expects the volume of direct deposit-related requests from beneficiaries to increase.

In October 2011, we began tracking allegations that indicated individuals other than the beneficiaries or their representatives had redirected benefit payments away from the beneficiaries’ bank accounts to accounts the individuals controlled. As of May 2013, we had received over 36,000 reports concerning an unauthorized change or a suspected attempt to make an unauthorized change to a beneficiary’s direct deposit information in SSA’s records.

Congressional staff requested that we determine the cost of replacing missing Social Security benefit payments due to unauthorized direct deposit changes and whether beneficiaries who had their payments misdirected received the payments they were due.