Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Government Overpaid More than a Billion over Improper Social Security Benefits

Generally, the Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits are available for the Americans who have been deemed to be physically or mentally impaired by a long-term condition that prevents them from being able to work. However, people nowadays seem to take advantage of the said federal program.

According to recent news reports, the American watchdog Government Accountability Office (GOA) found out that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has overpaid an approximately $1.3 billion in Social Security Disability benefits to thousands of recipients who were not eligible to receive the said benefits.

Based on GOA’s report, since the beginning of the year, nearly 36,000 people have been receiving “potential overpayments” from the SSA.

Under the agency’s “strict” policy, a disability benefit applicant must go through a five-month waiting period in which the claimant’s earnings must not exceed $1,000 during any of the given month. But the GAO found out that thousands of people who were receiving benefits have incomes more than the said income limit.

Also, under the SSA’s policy, after an applicant qualifies for a disability benefit, the recipient is able to enter a trial work period. Meaning, the recipient can return to work while receiving benefits but only within a period of up to nine months. However, the GAO has further discovered that many recipients as well are receiving benefits long after the said nine-month trial work period has ended.

Unfortunately, while a possible budget deficit in the said federal program is being projected in the near future, the government still remains stagnant and fails to exert a little more effort in protecting the same.

Although the said 36,000 overpaid recipients only account for less than 1 percent of the over all disability benefit recipients, such number of improper payments could likely be higher according to GOA. Also, several Los Angeles social security disability lawyers agree with the watchdog that even such small percentage of improper payments still cost tax payers.