GAO Report: Social Security Doesn't Know Who's Dead

Saturday, 28 Dec 2013 02:13 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The Social Security Administration doesn't verify all its death reports, a new government report says, leading to problems when it comes to paying survivors' benefits.

"SSA’s methods for processing death reports may result in inaccurate, incomplete or untimely information for users of its death data," says the Government Accountability Office in its report.

"Consequently, this could lead to improper payments if benefit-paying agencies rely on this data."

The SSA is responsible for cross-matching data on dead people, so that federal agencies can avoid paying out benefits to people who are no longer alive, reports The Washington Times, and so that they can pay accurate benefits for surviving family members.

The agency also maintains a "Death Master File" that is available to the public, but the data may not be entirely accurate, the GAO report indicates.

Auditors said SSA verifies death reports from several places, including state records, families, funeral directors, the post office, banks, and other places it considers accurate.

"Because SSA does not verify death reports from sources it considers most accurate, the agency risks having erroneous information in its death data, such as including living individuals or not including deceased individuals," the GAO report said.

The SSA is also inconsistent in how it shares its data, the auditors revealed. Some agencies share with the SSA, but it does not always share back.

The GAO recommended that SSA develop better plans for verifying death reports and sharing them with other government agencies.

"Only with more accurate and complete data can these agencies reduce the risk of paying deceased beneficiaries,” auditors said. "However, because SSA has never analyzed the risk posed by errors or processes that could result in errors, it is not fully aware of steps that would be needed to address them."

The government pays out billions in improper death benefits, according to the Office of Management and Budget. In fiscal year 2012 alone, agencies paid out $108 billion in improper payments, including millions of dollars a year in subsidies to dead farmers after the Agriculture Department did not verify where the money was going, the GAO said.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Sessions: Obama Move on Illegals Would 'Alter Constitutional Framework'

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 14:28 PM

Congress must act immediately to stop President Barack Obama's proposed use of executive power to help millions of illeg . . .

Washington Post: Obama's Agenda Misfiring on All Cylinders

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 19:16 PM

President Barack Obama declared 2014 a "year of action," but it's been anything but, with his lofty State of the Union g . . .

Catholic League's Donohue: Pope May Visit NYC Next Year

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 16:51 PM

Pope Francis could very well add New York City to his rumored trip to Philadelphia next year, according to Bill Donohue, . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved