Tags: Immigrants | SSA | Social Security Administration

Social Security Administration: A Graveyard for Competence

Thursday, 02 April 2015 04:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The late Christian inspirational speaker Zig Ziglar used to warn his audience about striving to achieve the average. Zig advised, “If you put one foot in a bucket of boiling water and one foot in a bucket of ice water, on average you will be comfortable.” But specifically you’ll be in a great deal of pain.

The illustration always got a laugh and even some comprehension. Unfortunately, it appears the Social Security Administration has adopted the anecdote as a management principle.

Previously readers of this column learned the SSA database contains 6.5 million active entries for people that would be at least 112 years old, if they were alive, which most of them aren't. For SSA bureaucrats the check clearing the bank is proof of life, but as a taxpayer my standards are more stringent. You can get complete details by clicking this link.

Here’s how I estimate the figures from this incompetence may work: The average Social Security check is approximately $1,300. (Some grannies are in the boiling water and some are sitting on ice.) Splitting the difference with the 6.5 million centenarian names — since the agency believes many of the oldsters' names have been appropriated by identity thieves working illegally in the US — half are “undocumented immigrants” whose only crime is illegally crossing an international border, stealing a citizen's name, contributing to citizen unemployment rates and defrauding the federal government.

The other half of the database is resting comfortably in Eternal Acres while surviving relatives conduct a monthly remember–grampa–by–cashing–his–check ceremony.

Based on that math, which is very conservative, about 3,250,000 fraudulent checks going out each month. Times the average benefit, taxpayers are being gouged for $4.2 billion dollars each year. Give or take a migrant or two.

Social Security solves the problem of the living dead by using the Ziglar Principle: Balancing those names with the dead living. That way it all averages out by a simple keystroke or two and no one has to leave the office.

The Washington Examiner found Judy Rivers who has had the unique experience of being declared dead twice by the database wizards at the SSA. She hardly noticed the first time, in 2001, and didn't elaborate on how she was able to get by without documentation or by what process she was able to rejoin the database of the living.

The second time the fickle finger of SSA fate touched her database entry, was much worse: "I could never have imagined I would have reached the point of hopelessness, homelessness, financial destitution, loss of reputation and credibility, unable to find a job, an apartment, a student loan, or even buy a cellphone," Rivers testified to the Senate Homland and Government Affairs Committee.

One might even say to some the Obama administration giveth and to some it taketh away.
Inadvertantly proving that use of E–Verify would pretty much dry up regular employment for illegals, Rivers found that when landlords and human resources directors checked applications she submitted, her untimely digital death led them to believe she was an identify thief.

The only question the Examiner story was unable to answer, and a potential silver lining for Rivers, was if she was still liable for income taxes.

After Rivers' testimony, Social Security Administration bureaucrats displayed the level of interest that has made them a watchword for government care and concern: Senior Adviser Sean Brune assured the committee Rivers' database zombie condition is infinitesimal when compared to the federal government's overall scale of incompetence, representing "fewer than 9,000 a year."

Somehow coming from an agency that has 6.5 million people on the Social Security rolls who are dead or illegal — an error the SSA "has no immediate plans to correct — that 9,000 figure Brune was peddling is less than reassuring.

I suppose Miss Rivers can carry newspaper clippings or a C–SPAN DVD of her Senate testimony to vouch for her existence when encountering a situation that requires documentation from citizens. Or she could visit a Mexican consulate, claim to be a 'Dreamer' and go to the front of the line for government approval.

But the other minimum 8,999 erroneous dead may not have it so easy. What's striking about both of these situations is the total nonchalance, the "I'm all right, Jack!" attitude on the part of the Social Security Administration towards the monetary loss to taxpayers and the personal toll their mistakes take on innocent Americans.

When you're just an entry in a database — rightly or wrongly — you're no longer an individual to the federal government. You're just another data point stored somewhere on a government hard drive.

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When you're just an entry in a database — rightly or wrongly — you're no longer an individual to the federal government. You're just another data point stored somewhere on a government hard drive.
Immigrants, SSA, Social Security Administration
Thursday, 02 April 2015 04:52 PM
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