Social Security Administration Faces Scrutiny as Overpayment Recovery Impacting 2 Million Beneficiaries Revealed in Documents

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This number is more than double what Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi disclosed during a congressional hearing in October, as revealed by documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by KFF Health News and Cox Media Group.

Social Security Administration Faces Scrutiny as Overpayment Recovery Impacting 2 Million Beneficiaries Revealed in Documents
Social Security Administration Faces Scrutiny as Overpayment Recovery Impacting 2 Million Beneficiaries Revealed in Documents ( Photo: ABC News )

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is facing scrutiny over the recovery of overpayments from beneficiaries, with the agency demanding money back from more than 2 million people annually

The fallout from overpayments and clawbacks extends far beyond what Kijakazi initially acknowledged. The document indicates that a significant category of beneficiaries was omitted during her testimony, raising questions about the accuracy of the information provided. Social Security Administration (SSA) spokesperson Nicole Tiggemann described the numbers presented by Kijakazi as “unverified” and attributed the discrepancy to the challenge of quickly gathering information from a system not designed for such determinations.

This issue, affecting retired, disabled, and financially struggling individuals, has far-reaching consequences, causing distress and financial hardship. The number of people impacted by overpayments is crucial to understanding the scale of the problem, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) has historically quantified overpayments in dollars rather than the number of affected individuals.

During the October hearing, Kijakazi faced questions from lawmakers about the number of people receiving overpayment notices

The subsequent confusion led to contradictory statements, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) declined to clarify whether the numbers included all Social Security programs. The obtained document revealed that the numbers disclosed by Kijakazi covered only two of the three Social Security benefit programs, excluding Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Overpayment counts for SSI, a program providing financial support for individuals with little or no income, were larger than those disclosed, indicating a broader impact.

The document, titled “Overpayment Basic Facts,” also unveiled new information, showing that few beneficiaries contest overpayment notices and many appeals or waiver requests fail. Following media coverage, the SSA initiated a review of overpayments, aiming to inform the public and Congress more effectively about this critical issue. As lawmakers consider potential reforms, the accuracy and transparency of data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) emerge as pivotal concerns in addressing the challenges faced by Social Security beneficiaries.

 

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