Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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Report finds SSI benefits paid to deceased people

A recent report prepared by the Office of the Inspector General concluded that over $165 million in SSI benefits to people who were no longer living. The report also concluded that other SSI benefits were paid to people who were out of the country or otherwise not eligible to receive benefits.

Many of the people to whom the Social Security Administration was paying benefits had died several years prior to the error being discovered. In one case, a person had been dead for 27 years, yet was still drawing benefits. The Administration subsequently discontinued benefits that were being paid to dead people; however, it was not clear whether the Administration intended to take collection action.

The report concluded that the Administration was likely paying millions more out of its SSI program, which benefits impoverished people who are also disabled, blind, or over a certain age, to recipients who had died. In response to this report, the Administration has pledged to take corrective action, which may include better cross-checking of records to ensure people who have died or are no longer eligible for benefits are not receiving them.

As this blog has stated previously, one of the requirements of receiving SSI income is to report changes information promptly. With respect to a New Jersey beneficiary who has died, the next of kin has an obligation to let the Administration know to discontinue benefits. On the other hand, for those who are disabled, reporting requirements and other details of Social Security law can be hard to keep track of. Fortunately, qualified legal professionals in New Jersey are able to answer legal questions.

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