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When $1.29 Billion is a "Small Payment Error"

Once more your federal government fritters away your hard-earned tax dollars. At the Washington Free Beacon, Elizabeth Harrington writes:

"The Social Security Administration (SSA) gave $1.29 billion in payments to individuals who were not considered disabled, a mistake the agency says is a “small payment error.”

"The SSA made improper payments to roughly 36,000 individuals who were able to earn more than $1,000 per month, rendering them ineligible for the Disability Insurance (DI) program, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released Friday.

"The cost to the taxpayers was nearly $1.3 billion.

"The SSA said that the overall rate of overpayment is low, but the sheer number of people involved in the program leads to large totals."

Oh, and did you know that federal employees earn more than private sector employees? (For an explanation, see our August 17, 2013 Growls.)

Kudos to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), who Harrington quoted as saying, "This report demonstrates just how little importance the Social Security Administration places on policing its disability rolls.” Sen. Coburn, who is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs said:

“SSA has known for years that it could prevent millions of dollars in improper disability payments using quarterly wage records, but chose not to."

Will Virginia's two senators -- Mark Warner and Tim Kaine -- join with Sen Coburn in reforming the Social Security Disability Insurance program? Ask them! If you live in Arlington, your Congressional representatives are:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -  write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Jim Moran (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376
UPDATE (9/17/13): At CNS News, Allissa Tabirian reports, "Since January, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sent disability insurance (SSDI) checks worth $1.29 billion to an estimated 36,000 people who were still on the job and thus ineligible for benefits, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released Friday. (See GAO -13-635.pdf).

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