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Disability Insurance: Preliminary Observations on SSA Efforts to Detect, Prevent, and Recover Overpayments

GAO-11-756T Published: Jun 14, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 2011.
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The Social Security Administration's (SSA) Disability Insurance (DI) program paid almost $123 billion in benefits in fiscal year 2010 to more than 10 million workers and dependents. The program has grown rapidly in recent years and is poised to grow further as the baby boom generation ages. GAO examined (1) what is known about the extent SSA makes work-related overpayments to, and recovers overpayments from, DI beneficiaries, and (2) SSA's policies and procedures for work continuing disability reviews (work CDRs) and potential DI program vulnerabilities that may contribute to overpayments to beneficiaries who have returned to work. To answer these questions, GAO reviewed work CDR policies and procedures, interviewed SSA headquarters and processing center officials, and visited 4 of 8 processing centers. We reviewed a random nongeneralizable sample of 60 CDR case files across those 4 centers to ensure we had a wide range of cases for our review (15 cases from each). These 4 centers received almost 80 percent of all work CDRs from SSA's Internal Revenue Service enforcement data match in fiscal year 2009.

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