Report Summary
Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General

September 2009

Improper Payments Resulting from Unresolved Delayed Claimants


Our objective was to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) had taken appropriate actions to resolve delayed auxiliary or survivor claimants and pay underpayments to all affected beneficiaries.


SSA requires that auxiliary and survivor claimants submit evidence to establish their entitlement to benefits.  Individuals who have filed a claim, but who have not provided all the required evidence of eligibility and whose entitlement would affect other beneficiaries who are receiving benefits are placed in a delayed payment status.  When a claimant is placed in delayed status, SSA must control the claim to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to properly pay all affected beneficiaries.

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Our Findings

We found that SSA needs to improve its controls and procedures to ensure appropriate actions are taken to resolve delayed auxiliary or survivor claimants and properly pay all affected beneficiaries. Based on our sample results, we estimate that

Finally, we estimate that the currently entitled auxiliaries or survivors may not be properly paid $67.6 million unless SSA takes action to resolve their delayed claimants.

Our Recommendations

We recommend that SSA:

  1. Take corrective action to properly resolve the 28 records with delayed claimants identified by our audit.
  2. Identify and take corrective action on the population of delayed claimants that have been pending more than 90 days.
  3. Improve controls to ensure that delayed claimants are resolved within appropriate time frames.
  4. Remind employees to diary, follow up on, and timely resolve delayed claimants.

SSA agreed with our recommendations.