SSA administers several benefit programs, including the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. The benefit amount payable to an individual under these programs depends on various factors. A change in one or more of these factors may result in a lower or no benefit payable to the individual. In these situations, until SSA learns of the change and adjusts the benefit, the individual is paid more than he/she is entitled to receive—an overpayment.
Reduce Improper Payments and Increase Overpayment Recoveries
Benefit payments greater than the amount to which individuals are entitled are considered overpayments. When the Social Security Administration determines an individual has been overpaid, it generally initiates recovery actions regardless of the dollar amount.
In this report, we analyzed the cost-benefit of processing overpayments for the Retirement and Survivors Insurance (RSI), Disability Insurance (DI), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.
We selected for review a sample of 1,532 beneficiaries from a file of 8.9 million beneficiaries who were receiving disability payments in October 2003.
We originally reviewed these 1,532 cases for an April 2006 audit.
The Social Security Act prohibits paying retirement and/or disability benefits to individuals who are placed under a final order of deportation or removal from the United States for participating in Nazi persecution or committing crimes of genocide.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides payments to financially needy individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled. Individuals eligible for SSI payments may also qualify for Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) benefits (concurrent entitlement). SSA reduces SSI payments by the recipient’s countable income, which includes OASDI benefits. Concurrently entitled individuals continue receiving SSI payments as long as their countable income does not exceed the Federal Benefit Rate plus a $20 allowance.
The objective of our report is to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) properly identified and controlled overpayments recorded as "special payment amounts" (SPA) on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR).
SSA administers the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program under Title II of the Social Security Act. Spouses of individuals insured under the OASDI program may be eligible for OASDI auxiliary benefits. According to SSA policy, a spouse is entitled to a maximum of 50 percent of the insured individual’s primary insurance amount (PIA).
Title II of the Social Security Act allows individuals to receive Disability Insurance (DI) benefits if they are fully insured, have not reached retirement age, and are determined to be disabled.
Federal law requires that the Social Security Administration (SSA) suspend payments to certain individuals who are in institutions as sexually dangerous persons. These provisions became effective in December 1999.
A 2012 OIG investigation identified 14 sexual predators who inappropriately received more than $500,000 in SSA payments while confined in a Washington State SCC. The investigation identified 23 additional SCCs nationwide.
In this report, our objective was to determine the effectiveness of the Social Security Administration’s procedures for recovering payments improperly deposited into Title II beneficiaries’ bank accounts after their deaths. Specifically, we focused on payments SSA issued between the date of death and the date payments were suspended or terminated.