Government Accountability Office Works To Reduce Social Security Overpayments

January 25, 2013

The Social Security Administration offers assistance to retired or disabled citizens and their dependents through a system of benefits aimed at covering living expenses called the Social Security Income program. The program paid out roughly $46 billion during 2011 to around nine million recipients and the number is only expected to grow in the coming years. Due to this growth being complicated by an already stretched budget, any overpayments that occur could be devastating to both parties.

To prevent such overpayments, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has begun to conduct audits on randomly selected recipients to ensure benefits being paid are the correct amount. Through those examinations, the agency was able to determine that there has been a significant increase in Social Security and Social Security Disability overpayments in recent years. In 2002, there was approximately $3.8 billion in overpayments. By 2011, the number had nearly doubled to $7.3 billion.

The GAO offered several suggestions to combat the problem. The first is to look into ways to improve the agency’s management of the overpayment waiver process through examining waiver trends, approval rates, and other key data. Also, a further review of the supervisory processes of overpayments should be conducted.

The Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin recognize overpayment issues can make getting approved for benefits more difficult for those who are truly in need. That is why the firm suggests discussing your legal rights with an attorney before filing a claim for benefits.

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