Recently, it was announced Social Security Administration had mistakenly been issuing disability payments to some recipients who claimed to be unable to work, yet were holding down a job. However, while this is certainly not the point of the federal programs, it should be noted this only applied to a very small percentage of recipients.
According to the Government Accountability Office, improper payments may have been made to about 36,000 people. In total, if it turns out this is true, this means Social Security Administration would have paid out $1.3 billion in faulty payments.
When looking at this figure, it is no doubt a lot of money. But one must remember what type of a system they are looking at. In fact, during this audit period, based on a review of six beneficiaries between December 2010 and January 2013, these figures represent less than one percent of recipients and less than one percent of disability payments.
No doubt some will try and use this information to talk negatively about the Social Security system. However, the truth is there is an overwhelming majority of recipients who are receiving Social Security disability who truly need it.
In looking at Social Security disability insurance, this is a program overseen by the Social Security Administration. Those who qualify — after going through an application process — end up receiving monthly payments. With SSDI, how much these recipients receive is based on how much they paid into the system.
Another federal program run by Social Security Administration is Supplemental Security Income. This is a federal program for those who are disabled, but have either never worked or had not worked enough to earn enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. Those who qualify for SSI receive a monthly fixed amount to cover their basic living expenses.
Source: The Washington Post, “Auditors: Social Security may have overpaid disability claims by $1.3 billion,” Josh Hicks, Sept. 17, 2013