The Social Security Administration (SSA) is investigating whether it overpaid thousands of recipients nearly $400 million over the past decade and longer because of budget cuts.
At issue are payments to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in Indiana and throughout the U.S. whose cases have not been reviewed in a timely manner. In fact, an estimated 1.1 million recipients have not undergone a review – known as a redetermination – in more than a decade, according to an estimate from the SSA’s inspector general.
The agency has narrowed it down further and is investigating whether more than 77,000 recipients might have received a total of $380 million more than they were entitled to.
In fiscal 2017, the government distributed $51.4 billion in SSI funds to more than 8.2 million people.
Redeterminations are supposed to be done each year to see if something could have changed with the recipient’s situation, and once every six years if it is possible the recipient is unlikely to have had a change in circumstances. The SSA is looking for things such as a change in resources, income or living arrangements that could make a recipient ineligible.
Reviews formerly were done every three years, but that timeframe was doubled in the 1990s because of personnel reductions.
Federal investigators specifically are looking further into the cases of those 77,000 people and have mailed questionnaires to some of them. A detailed analysis of some of the cases proved that some of the recipients had been overpaid because they had too much in assets or income.
In one example, a woman whose case hadn’t had a redetermination since 2004 was found to have received almost $10,000 too much, and the SSA sought a repayment of the overpayments.
The agency said it expected to finalize 2.9 million in redeterminations between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 20, 2018.
If you are a recipient of SSI, your case could be reviewed, and you could require legal assistance to work with the agency.