Oh heck … only $6.5 billion? When you have a centralized federal government program designed to hand disability payments directly to individuals, it’s kind of like having the executive leadership of General Motors changing the oil in your SUV. It’s an unsuitable arrangement, and as such, a symptom of the disease.
In all, about 10 percent of the payments made by the agency’s Supplemental Security Income program were improper, said Patrick P. O’Carroll Jr., the inspector general for Social Security. The program has strict limits on income and assets, and most of the overpayments went to people who did not report all their resources, O’Carroll said.
Error rates were much smaller for retirement, survivor and disability benefits, which make up the overwhelming majority of Social Security payments, O’Carroll told a congressional panel.
“By any standard, the scope of these problems is considerable,” said Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee. “Regardless of whether a payment occurs because of simple error or outright fraud, improper payments harm Social Security programs in the long term, jeopardizing benefits for those who may need them in the future. They also cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year.”
Of course, a high percentage of the payments were made properly, and with the size and scope of the federal government, you’ve got to expect some fraud, abuse and incorrect payments don’t you?
About 99.5 percent of all retirement and disability payments were accurate in 2009, O’Carroll [Patrick P. O’Carroll Jr., the inspector general for Social Security] said. In all, the agency made $660 billion in retirement, survivor and disability payments in 2009, including an estimated $2.5 billion in overpayments and $600 million in underpayments, O’Carroll said.
“While we are justifiably proud of our consistently high accuracy rate for (retirement, survivors and disability) payments, we recognize our responsibility to maintain and improve our performance,” Colvin [Carolyn W. Colvin, the agency’s deputy commissioner] said.
Symptom of the disease … Wasting $6.5 billion in taxpayer dollars is no big deal when your agency is so big and bloated that they are “successfully” handing out hundreds of billions and only screwing up on $6.5 billion.
The federal government should never have been tasked to handle such a program, and these failures prove that. If the people want these services, they should be provided by and managed exclusively by the states.