A Social Security Administration (SSA) audit has discovered nearly $17 billion in overpayments made to beneficiaries between 2003 and 2014. The report sampled 1,532 beneficiaries and found 44.5 percent of them received too much in payments, were no longer disabled, were in prison or had died.
Of the $16.8 billion in erroneous payments, the report found $8.1 billion had been recovered, leaving a net loss for taxpayers of $8.7 billion over the decade the report covered. It also found the “SSA prevented about $8 billion in overpayments” over the same period.
The sample group of 1,532 studied was found to have received $2.9 million in erroneous overpayments. More than $1 million was paid to group members who had a “work activity or income change,” $691,033 was paid to people who had the medical situation that made them eligible, $216,070 were in prison or fugitives, and $209,643 in payments were made to people who had died.
Of those studied, SSA found only two beneficiaries who were underpaid.
Nearly 11 million Americans receive some form of federal disability benefits.
In 2013, Social Security ran a deficit of $71 billion and is projected to have a $13.4 trillion unfunded liability over the next 75 years. Unfunded liability is the projection of the difference between the money the SSA will take in through taxation and expected benefits it will be required to pay out, should nothing in the law be changed.
When added to the unfunded liability of Medicare, the number grows to $49 trillion.