People Collecting Social Security Disability After Death
According to the U.S, Social Security Administration’s Office (SSA) of the Inspector General, at least 19% of the 3,925 beneficiaries studied during an audit earlier this month still received government checks even though they were deceased. This means an estimated $37.7 million in Social Security Disability (SSD) payments went to 746 people who had died.
The SSA runs one federal pension program for retired and disabled people and their dependents and survivors, and another for low-income individuals who are elderly or disabled. In both programs, payments should stop when the beneficiaries die, but that hasn’t happened for 19 deceased recipients of 100 randomly selected cases.
However, 11 of those 100 listed as deceased weren’t dead, though they were still listed as dead after they had proven to the government they weren’t. The agency also couldn’t confirm the status of another 70 beneficiaries.
In the cases where the deceased were still getting payments, the SSA reports the Veteran’s Administration (VA) had not included most of the individuals’ death information in monthly mortality data transmitted to SSA. These payments benefited people taking advantage of the payments, such as someone in California who kept getting about $160,000 in payments after the veteran had died in Thailand in August 2008.
The Inspector General’s office advised the SSA to review files and stop payments when a beneficiary is determined to have died, to refer instances of suspected fraud for investigation, and to work with the VA to ensure death information is accurately transmitted.
If you need to apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, let us help. Syfrett, Dykes & Furr has collectively handled hundreds of cases, and we’re dedicated to helping our clients use that experience to meet their legal goals. If you’re being refused SSD benefits, let our Panama City lawyers help you fight this injustice.
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