Caught! Social Security Paid ‘Legally Incompetent’ People Millions, Again

Ethan Barton | Managing Editor

Social Security Administration (SSA) officials paid $78 million to nearly 11,000 people legally incapable of handling their financial affairs for issues such as mental impairments, a government watchdog reported Monday.

SSA is required to send Social Security checks to a beneficiary’s representative if the actual beneficiary is mentally or physically incapable of managing their finances, according to a report by the agency’s inspector general (IG). SSA officials nonetheless continued to pay “legally incompetent” recipients even after appointing a representative. (RELATED: Drunk Disability Judge Assaulted Officers, Wants Benefits For Alcoholism)

“SSA needs to improve controls to ensure it does not make direct payments to concurrently entitled beneficiaries who have a representative payee,” the report said. “Based on our random sample, we estimate 10,912 beneficiaries received approximately $78 million in direct payments.”

In fact, 66 percent of the 200 incompetent beneficiaries the IG sampled were receiving Social Security checks.

This isn’t the first time the watchdog caught this problem. SSA paid more than 11,000 incompetent beneficiaries $166 million in 2006, and paid nearly 8,000 more nearly $44 million in 2009, according to previous IG reports. (RELATED: Feds Gave Away $64 Million In Welfare Payments Without Background Checks)

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Tags : inspectors general investigative group social security administration
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