The Government Is Still Paying Social Security Benefits To Deceased Californians

Every time Republicans propose Social Security reform, Democrats are quick to claim that any attempts to change the program are untenable. Yet in this latest example of taxpayer dollars being wasted, one would be hard pressed to defend the Social Security Administration’s negligence and resist the calls for serious reform.

From the Free Beacon:

“OI [Office of Investigations] and SSA confirmed that SSA issued approximately $3 million in improper payments to 14 beneficiaries who died in California during the 1980s,” the report said. “SSA terminated payments in each of these cases and quantified improper payments issue after the numberholders’ deaths.”

In one case, the widow of a disabled man received his benefits for 28 years following his death in 1985. The widow received $231,687 in payments until November 2013. The agency will not pursue criminal charges due to the widow’s “advanced age.”

The total amount of improper payments issued to dead people in California may be higher. An additional $598,350 in payments is being investigated for four individuals that the OIG believes to be deceased. …

The audit also found that thousands of workers in California are using SSNs that belong to likely deceased individuals, holding the potential for future fraud.

Currently over 64,000 “numberholders” in the SSA’s database in California are not listed as deceased, though their information matches California Department of Public Health death records.

Most alarming for taxpayers is the Social Security Administration’s refusal to reform its system and check whether benefits are being collected through the social security number of a deceased individual.

“SSA disagreed with Recommendation 2 and stated it does not seek non-beneficiary death information and does not have a reason to process non-program related information, nor the resources to do so,” the OIG said. “While SSA may not seek non-beneficiary death information, we believe SSA should not ignore non-beneficiary death information available to it.”

“We strongly disagree with SSA’s assertion that it does not have a reason to process non-program related information,” the OIG added. “With its comments, SSA appears to disregard the fact that numberholders who are not current beneficiaries can still have benefit claims filed in their names.”

Read more at the Free Beacon.