SSA makes costly mistake

July 13, 2012

An oversight by the Social Security Administration (SSA) of not recording 1.2 million people’s names on a list called “Death Master File” may have caused their families to receive Social Security benefits after they died, reports The Washington Post. The report was released this week by the SSA’s inspector general.

The national list is used to verify a person’s identity and prevent fraud and is distributed to other federal agencies and private companies to determine whether people receiving benefits are still eligible.

In 2010, President Obama directed federal agencies to shore up their systems for determining someone’s eligibility before releasing any payment.

Because data didn’t match up with other computer systems or because of clerical errors made by employees, the inspector general found that the 1.2 million deaths were not recorded in the master file.

Recommendations were that the agency do a better job matching deaths recorded on its benefit rolls with its master list and improve its record keeping.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Social Security Subcommittee, called the poor recordkeeping “inexcusable.” He further said that failure to properly maintain the database of deaths costs taxpayers millions of dollars.

“That is embarrassing, especially when the [Social Security Administration] is overseeing retirement and disability programs that are going bankrupt.”

If you or someone you know needs help with a SSA disability appeal or claim, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

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