From the Inspector General's Desk: Working for You, the Taxpayer

Beyond the Numbers

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Posted by: 
Inspector General Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr.

When I meet new people and they learn I am the Inspector General of Social Security, they generally ask me one of two things:

  • Will Social Security be around when I retire? 
  • Why is my neighbor getting disability benefits when he’s working in his yard every day?  

Our employees try to answer both of these questions every day.  We can’t change the laws governing Social Security benefit programs—that’s the job of your political representatives in Congress.  But our auditors carefully examine Social Security’s programs and operations to identify areas of waste, and we recommend changes.  In that way, we can help make Social Security’s Trust Funds go further and last longer so they will be around when you and I retire. 

At the same time, our special agents analyze fraud allegations that we receive from you, the public, and other places, and then we investigate in search of the truth.  Sometimes we find that neighbor should never have gotten disability benefits in the first place—but sometimes we find he, in fact, has an illness that may not be visible, but that prevents him from holding down a job. 

In essence, our office—like every other Federal agency’s Office of the Inspector General—is the police officer on the corner of the intersection where Federal programs and taxpayer money—your money—meet.  We are working to improve programs that benefit you, and to prevent fraud that costs you money. 

This blog is one way that we can tell you what we are doing in your community and throughout the country.  It’s also a way for you to have a voice in this conversation. 

What do you want to know about Social Security and what we do in the OIG?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments section of this blog.  Please, don’t put any personally identifiable information in the comments, like your Social Security number.  But do tell me what your concerns are about Social Security, what questions you want answered, and what you think about our work.  

We look forward to responding to you, and creating a lively and worthwhile conversation in our corner of the Internet. 

Thank you for reading, and for contributing to this vital conversation.