The objective of this report was to assess the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) effectiveness in collecting civil monetary penalties (CMP).
Reduce Improper Payments and Increase Overpayment Recoveries
When disabled beneficiaries reach age 62, Social Security employees must determine whether they are eligible for higher retirement benefits. SSA employees must also notify disabled beneficiaries when their monthly retirement benefits would exceed their monthly disability benefits. If a disabled beneficiary elects retirement benefits, SSA processes a retirement application and pays the higher monthly benefit. If a beneficiary does not elect retirement benefits, SSA should document the reason in its electronic files.
Government Pension Offset (GPO) reduces monthly Social Security benefits for spouses and surviving spouses who receive a pension based on their employment for a Federal, State, or local government not covered by Social Security. In this report, our objective was to determine whether the Social Security Administration had adequate controls to identify and pay spousal beneficiaries who had an excess withholding of GPO.
In this report, we reviewed the Social Security Administration's Accountable Official’s Quarterly High-dollar Overpayment Report to the Office of the Inspector General, as required by Executive Order 13520, Reducing Improper Payments and Eliminating Waste in Federal Programs, for the quarters ended December 2013 and March, June, and September 2014.
According to SSA policy, an underpayment is any monthly benefit amount due a beneficiary that SSA has not paid. Underpayments include accrued monthly benefits SSA has not paid and uncashed checks representing correct payments to deceased beneficiaries.
The Social Security Act provides benefits to children upon the insured wage earners’ retirement, death, or disability. Child beneficiaries are entitled to benefits until they marry or attain age 18. After age 18, child beneficiaries become eligible for student benefits if they attend an elementary or secondary school full time. Generally, student benefits continue through the earlier of age 19 and 2 months or the end of the school year.
The Social Security Act allows the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make incentive payments to State and local correctional facilities that provide inmate data to SSA.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash assistance to people who are aged, blind, or disabled with limited income and resources. SSI applicants and recipients are required to report their resources to SSA to ensure they are eligible for SSI payments.
Generally, SSA assigns an individual one Social Security number (SSN) to track his/her earnings and any benefits he/she may receive. In some cases, an individual can have more than one SSN. For example, when SSA assigns consecutive SSNs to members of the same family, one of the individuals can request a new SSN. If SSA assigns an individual more than one SSN, the Agency generally cross-refers it electronically in its records.