Individuals Receiving Social Security Cards After Benefits Have Been Suspended
To determine whether address information obtained when individuals apply for replacement Social Security cards was used to resolve prior beneficiary suspensions for address or whereabouts unknown.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) may suspend benefits when it receives a report that a beneficiary’s whereabouts are unknown or if benefit checks have been returned undeliverable. When this occurs, the field office must attempt to locate the beneficiary. When the beneficiary is located, benefits are usually reinstated. The minimum requirements for obtaining a replacement Social Security card include the applicant’s full name, date of birth, and complete address.
To view the full report, visit http://www.ssa.gov/oig/ADOBEPDF/A-09-09-29004.pdf
We determined that address information obtained when individuals applied for replacement Social Security cards should have been used to resolve prior beneficiary suspensions for address or whereabouts unknown. Based on a random sample of 200 beneficiaries, we found that SSA could have resolved the whereabouts of approximately 4,761 Title II beneficiaries who applied for replacement Social Security cards. As a result, about $22.7 million in benefits remained in suspense for address or whereabouts unknown for these beneficiaries.
This occurred because SSA employees did not identify and resolve the suspended benefits when processing requests for replacement Social Security cards.
We recommended SSA:
SSA agreed with two of our three recommendations. SSA did not agree with recommendation 2 because of its limited field office workload resources. SSA also stated that beneficiaries are responsible for reporting events that affect their entitlement to benefits.