Deceased federal workers have received a total of $1.7 million from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in recent years, an audit released by the agency's inspector general has revealed.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the audit showed the mistake was made because the SSA had not crosschecked the deaths of the beneficiaries with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which provides government-wide administration of retirement benefits and services for all federal workers.
The report showed that "the average payment after death was $49,156 for an average of 84 months," which is equivalent to seven years.
One example cited was that of a Georgia woman who died in 2007 but continued to receive benefits until 2015. Her son cashed checks meant for his mother totaling $68,192 over seven years. The son has been ordered to repay $63,446 to the government.
However, the audit shows that as of May, the agency has only recovered $112,557 out of the $1,720,464 paid to deceased federal workers, the Free Beacon reports.
The agency did not appear overly concerned by the matter, calling the $1.7 million in mistaken payments an "extremely small number," which "represents less than one-tenth of a percent of total benefit payments."
The SSA added that "Over the years we have made, and will continue to make, enhancements to ensure our death data is accurate and to stop payments when we receive confirmed death reports."
The audit comes just a few weeks after a whistleblower's report detailed a dysfunctional SSA federal office in Madison awash in waste, fraud and abuse, Wisconsin Watchdog.org reports.
The report alleged widespread corruption and cover-up by top managers at the Madison office and at the regional SSA headquarters in Chicago.
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