SSI Flagged For Billions In Improper Spending
A federal program designed to aid people with disabilities doled out billions of dollars in improper payments last year alone, government investigators say.
The Government Accountability Office estimates the Supplemental Security Income program paid out some $5 billion in questionable spending during the 2014 fiscal year.
The finding comes in a report from the investigative arm of Congress this week outlining nearly $125 billion in suspect expenditures last year across 22 different federal agencies.
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SSI was one of a dozen programs highlighted for having over a billion dollars in improper payments. In addition, Medicaid and Medicare were also among the programs flagged for large spending errors.
Government investigators attributed the improper SSI payments at least in part to “errors or omissions in reported income or resources” by recipients of the means-tested program.
Sean Brune, a senior advisor at the Social Security Administration which administers SSI, told a U.S. Senate panel this week that despite the level of improper payments GAO found, the vast majority of benefits the agency administers are handled correctly.
“Let me make clear that while we work diligently to correct and pursue them, improper payments do not equate with fraud. Improper payments can occur for a number of reasons, some of which are outside the control of the beneficiary or the agency,” Brune said.