To the tune of $6.5 billion, the Social Security Administration has been shelling out payments to individuals "not entitled to receive money" or receiving more than "they should have," according to a government investigator. How did the chosen few manage to score the undeserved pay dirt? It appears they fudged their numbers. "Most of the overpayments went to people who did not report all their resources," said Patrick O'Carroll, the inspector general for Social Security. The AP's Stephen Ohlemacher says the payment mishaps occurred in 2009. That year, $6.5 billion in overpayments occurred "including $4 billion under a supplemental income program for the very poor ... Social Security also made nearly $1.5 billion in underpayments, raising the total amount of improper payments to $8 billion."
According to the report, Republicans are making a bigger deal out of this than Democrats.
"By any standard, the scope of these problems is considerable," said Representative Charles Boustany, a Louisiana Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee. "Regardless of whether a payment occurs because of simple error or outright fraud, improper payments harm Social Security programs in the long term, jeopardizing benefits for those who may need them in the future. They also cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year."