Our Semiannual Report to Congress--Communicating Our Work

Beyond the Numbers

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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The Office of External Relations

Twice a year, the SSA OIG’s external relations staff—that’s us—produces a Semiannual Report to Congress (SARC, in OIG lingo).  Every Federal OIG is required by law to produce a SARC, as a way of informing you about important audits and investigations we’ve conducted that will improve Social Security’s programs and prevent fraud.  If you want to read more about the legal requirements for Federal inspectors general, you can go here.

We just published our most recent SARC, for the period October 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012.  The report includes these highlights, among many others:

  • Page 8—In a Congressional Response Report, we found that most of SSA’s 1400 judges decided between 500 and 700 appeals a year, and awarded benefits, on average, 67 percent of the time.  But not every judge was average—one judge awarded benefits only 8.6 percent of the time, and another paid the claimant in 99.7 percent of his cases!   In the report, we discuss the reasons for this wide range, and recommend that SSA keep a closer eye on the outliers. 
  • Page 13—How do you get 30 months in a Federal prison, three years of probation, 50 hours of community service, and an order to pay over $300,000 to a government agency?  Pretend to be someone else so you can collect disability benefits while you’re actually healthy and working.  We arrested a Baltimore woman for doing exactly that—she assumed her sister’s identity and stole $305,844 in disability benefits.  
  • Page 27—We get a lot of anonymous allegations about fraud.  We listen.  Our CDI unit in Seattle got one about a guy who, the writer said, was faking a mental disability to get benefits.  Turned out it was true, but there was more.  He also had a second SSN that he used to work, buying and selling cars and RVs.  He got jail time, too—27 months of it—and had to give every penny back.  Crime doesn’t pay.

In the report, you can also find answers to many of our most frequently asked questions—like how many investigations we conduct, how many people we arrest, and how many audit reports we issue.  This Blog is called “Beyond the Numbers,” but if you want numbers, we’ve got ‘em.  Check out pages 11-13, 23, 28, and 29 for all the stats.

To read the full report, click here.  And don’t forget to leave a comment for us below, giving feedback, or asking any questions you might have about the report.