February 18, 2013
The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report that found while the Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken steps to reduce the number of overpayments made through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, more action must be taken.
The report indicates that in the fiscal year of 2011, the SSI program paid a total of $46 billion to approximately nine million beneficiaries. Experts found the program had made roughly $3.3 billion in overpayments to beneficiaries the previous year though.
These discoveries were made during audits that were conducted on certain cases of those claiming a need for SSI benefits, which are known as “redeterminations”. The 2.4 million redeterminations that were conducted in 2011 were responsible for a reduction in lifetime wrongful payments of approximately $3.2 billion.
While the SSA has worked hard to reduce the number of SSI overpayments in recent years, the GAO believes there is still much work to be done to reduce overpayments. The GAO has suggested the SSA review its policy concerning the supervisory review and approval of overpayment waiver decisions of $2,000 or less to determine if the policy is still appropriate. Also, the SSA should look into ways to strengthen the agency’s oversight of the overpayment waiver process through the analysis of data to identify waiver trends, such as approval rates and amounts.
The Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin understand how confusing the process of receiving SSI can be and suggest discussing your case with an attorney if you are preparing to file a claim for benefits.
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