Social Security:

Causes of Increased Overpayments, 1986 to 1989

HRD-92-107: Published: Sep 28, 1992. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 1992.

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Social Security Administration's (SSA) management of debt collection efforts, focusing on: (1) the general causes of and reasons for increases in benefit overpayments; (2) the average amounts and overall range of overpayments and characteristics of individuals who receive overpayments; and (3) whether staff reductions contributed to the increase in overpayments.

GAO found that: (1) SSA accounting records indicate that overpayments increased by about $500 million from 1986 to 1989; (2) the dollar amount of overpayments detected was not a reliable indicator of overpayment increases, since detections depended on the number of overpayments, the SSA level of effort to detect overpayments, and the effectiveness of detection techniques; (3) a one-time adjustment SSA made to its overpayment accounting records, which had overstated the number of overpayments, explained most of the detected increase; (4) SSA improved its ability to detect overpayments by using tax information to identify recipients who underreported their income; (5) the 4.3-percent increase in the number of people receiving SSA benefits between 1986 and 1989 created more opportunities for overpayments; (6) SSA does not maintain the staffing and work-load data it needs to directly assess the correlation between overpayments and the 20-percent reduction in SSA staff between 1985 and 1990; and (7) comparison of overpayment data both before and after the SSA staff reduction did not produce any indication that staff reductions contributed to overpayments.

Jul 29, 2014

Jul 28, 2014

Jul 7, 2014

Jun 16, 2014

May 27, 2014

Apr 21, 2014

Mar 5, 2014

Feb 26, 2014

Dec 27, 2013

Looking for more? Browse all our products here