Elizabeth Harrington reports that Feds Paid $1 Billion in Social Security Benefits to Individuals Without a SSN. Errors occurred because the agency did not keep paper applications supporting an individual’s case to receive benefits
The agency’s [Social Security Administration] inspector general found errors in the government’s documentation for representative payees, otherwise known as individuals who receive retirement or disability payments on behalf of another person who is incapable of managing the benefits themselves.
The audit released Friday found thousands of cases where there was no SSN on file.
Over the last decade, the agency paid $1 billion to 22,426 representative payees who “did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application.”
The story brings to mind the other headlines from South Florida, involving Medicare fraud where the suspects fled to Cuba
The FBI’s field office in Miami estimates there are about 160 defendants on the lam from active Medicare fraud cases in South Florida. Together, the fugitives are accused of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the taxpayer-funded Medicare program for seniors and disabled by submitting false claims for a variety of bogus services, including medical supplies, physical therapy and prescription drugs.
Almost all of the fugitives are Cuban-born immigrants who fled to Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and other Spanish-speaking countries to evade federal trials. With the exception of Cuba, several foreign countries with U.S. extradition treaties have assisted federal authorities in capturing and returning the Medicare fraud fugitives. But most of the time, the FBI simply catches a break when the fugitives try to come back to the United States.
Hundreds of millions, indeed billions of your hard-earned dollars . . . gone.