Social Security Administration Paid $1,111,000 in Benefits to Dead People

By Ali Meyer | March 16, 2015 | 12:48pm EDT

(AP Photo)

( - The Social Security Administration (SSA) improperly paid about $1,111,000 to deceased or likely deceased beneficiaries, according to a SSA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report.

The report titled, “Payments Deposited into Bank Accounts After Beneficiaries are Deceased,” was created to determine the effectiveness of SSA’s “procedures for recovering payments improperly deposited into Title II beneficiaries’ bank accounts after their deaths.”

According to the SSA, Title II benefits are disability benefits, because they fall under Title 2 of the Social Security Act, where disability benefits are addressed.

“SSA did not effectively recover direct deposit payments to bank accounts after beneficiaries’ deaths because the Agency did not always determine when suspended beneficiaries had died,” states the report. “We concluded that 58 of the 59 beneficiaries we reviewed had died or were likely deceased.

“We estimate that SSA improperly paid about $1,111,000 to the 58 deceased or likely deceased beneficiaries,” states the report. “While SSA recovered about $35,000 paid after the deaths of the six beneficiaries it terminated, the Agency did not attempt to recover payments from the other beneficiaries.”

“SSA uses direct deposit to make more than 98 percent of payments for Title II beneficiaries,” explains the report. “While beneficiaries are not entitled to benefit payments for the month of death and later, direct deposit of benefits does not automatically stop when beneficiaries die. SSA must terminate or suspend the benefits to stop the monthly payments.”

The OIG concluded that SSA did not have effective controls in place to stop those payments and terminate records of deceased beneficiaries. In response, the OIG recommended that the SSA “obtain verifications of death, terminate benefits and recover payments after death,” as part of the audit.

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