Government programs from the era of Franklin Roosevelt’s overhyped “New Deal” are still in effect today including the Fair Labor Standards Act and Social Security.
But over the years many of these government programs have been rife with fraud causing serious losses to hard-working taxpayers.
And now this earth-shattering report exposed the devastating state of one taxpayer-funded safety net thanks to total government incompetence.
Social Security overpays millions of people
When Americans receive their monthly Social Security check from the government, they assume that they’re getting the correct amount of money.
But many Americans are finding out that they have been receiving “overpayments,” some of which are reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars range.
One of the many examples is Justina Worrell, who has several disabilities and qualifies for such benefits.
Worrell was receiving around $1,065 monthly in Social Security disability benefits when she received a letter from the federal government claiming she owed them $60,175.90.
The letter required her to mail the government a check or money order for the amount within 30 days.
And Worrell isn’t alone, as the Social Security Administration (SSA) is now trying to claw back billions of dollars from some of the most vulnerable among us – many of whom have no other recourse – claiming that the payments never should have been sent in that amount in the first place.
According to a report by the Social Security Administration inspector general, there is still approximately $21.6 billion in outstanding overpayments as of fiscal year 2022.
Century Foundation senior fellow Rebecca Vallas said that the country has “an overpayment crisis on our hands.”
A Freedom of Information Act request was made to the SSA in May 2022, asking for documentation of every overpayment notice sent, but it was rejected, and an appeal is now pending.
When the SSA finds that its incompetence caused overpayments, it can reclaim the money from beneficiaries by reducing or stopping their monthly benefits, garnishing wages, or even intercepting federal tax refunds.
These overpayments are tracked through quarterly “payment integrity scorecards,” and the SSA said that the $265 million of overpayments in 2022 were “within the agency’s control.”
In other words, the agency fully admitted that a large portion of these overpayments were the result of its own incompetence and complete ineptitude.
“We were aware of information but failed to take action, or we took incorrect action when the recipient or third party provided requested information,” the SSA said in the scorecard.
In many cases, beneficiaries did not update or report the correct information for their income, like any changes in their wages or assets, which also served as a large source of overpayments.
A growing problem
When the SSA catches a mistake, oftentimes, many years have already passed, and beneficiaries have likely already spent the money.
By the time the mistake is caught, the amount of overpayment can be extremely overwhelming, especially for those who receive benefits because they actually need it to survive.
“We understand getting notice of an overpayment may be unsettling or unclear and we work with people to navigate the overpayment process,” an agency spokesperson said.
Eight years ago, Congress authorized a project that would allow the SSA to develop a program that could tap payroll data from outside sources, and adjust the amount it pays beneficiaries.
But for now, to the shock of no one who has paid any attention to government incompetence and malpractice, that program isn’t working, leaving millions of Americans in the lurch.
US Political Daily will keep you updated on any developments to this ongoing story.