The social security system in this country is fundamentally flawed, and Republicans have been trying to change it for years. Though Democrats have successfully been able to stop them until now, what just happened indicates that they won’t be able to do so much longer.
A recent audit just found that the Social Security Administration paid out over $1 billion in benefits to people that don’t have social security numbers, meaning people who should not be receiving social security at all. Yes, in the last 10 years, the SSA paid $1 billion to 22,426 representative payees who did not have a social security number and who the SSA did not follow its policy to get a paper application from.
“[U]nless it takes corrective action, we estimate SSA will pay about $182.5 million in benefits, annually, to representative payees who do not have an SSN or paper application supporting their selection,” the inspector general said, according to Right Wing News.
Making matters even worse, the inspector general also found that the SSA paid $853.1 million since 2004 to representative payees that had been terminated by the agency. The agency never updated the system when someone was terminated and did not keep up with paper applications.
Shockingly, the SSA responded by defending their actions, only switching to an Electronic Representative Payee System.
“Representative payees play a significant role in many beneficiaries’ lives. We have approximately 5.7 million representative payees managing annual benefits for approximately 8 million beneficiaries. When appointing representative payees, we adhere to guidance in the Social Security Act,” the SSA said in a statement.
“Specific to this audit, the Act permits us to appoint, in certain circumstances, an undocumented alien, or applicant who resides outside the United States without a Social Security number to serve as payee,” the SSA continued. “Specifically, the Act states we should verify a person’s SSN (or employer identification number) in our investigation of the payee applicant. However, the Act does not state that the applicant must have an SSN to serve as a payee.”
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