The Social Security Administration is once again receiving bad press this week after a report from the Government Accountability Office suggested that about $1.3 billion in disability benefits were paid to people who had returned to work but were still claiming to be disabled.
The report estimated that about 36,000 Social Security Disability recipients were overpaid over the course of two years. The findings were made after comparing names on the National Directory of New Hires to the list of SSD recipients. However, it’s important to point out that $1.3 billion represents less than 1 percent of the total amount of disability benefits paid by the SSA.
Additionally, the report is merely an estimate at this time and in order to arrive at a precise number, individual cases will need to be reviewed. The SSA said that it will be investigating the matter and will be seeking repayment for any benefits that were wrongly distributed.
The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee said that the report suggests “common-sense steps that the agency can and should take in order to avoid improper payments.” The chairman said that avoiding improper payments is vital so that “these critical benefits get to the people who need and deserve them.”
Because of all of the negative press and criticism surrounding the disability program over the past year or two, it could likely become more difficult to qualify for SSD benefits in upcoming years. If this happens, it will be more important than ever to seek out the assistance of a Social Security Disability lawyer to help with the SSD application and appeals processes.
Source: NPR, “Social Security Wrongfully Paid $1.3 Billion In Disability,” Eyder Peralta, Sept. 13, 2013