$1 Billion in Social Security Benefits Paid to Individuals Without a SSN
The Social Security Administration paid $1 billion in benefits to individuals who did not have a Social Security Number (SSN), according to a new audit.
The agency’s inspector general found errors in the government’s documentation for representative payees, otherwise known as individuals who receive retirement or disability payments on behalf of another person who is incapable of managing the benefits themselves.
The audit released Friday found thousands of cases where there was no SSN on file.
Over the last decade, the agency paid $1 billion to 22,426 representative payees who "did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application."
Government benefits are also going to illegal aliens through the representative payee system. 17 percent of representative payees in the sample did not have an SSN recorded because they were undocumented noncitizens, the inspector general said.
Illegal aliens without SSNs are allowed to receive benefits from the government when acting as representatives for their minor children.
In response to the audit, the SSA said it switched to a new Electronic Representative Payee System last year, and transferring representative payee information “may have resulted in applications showing as terminated or not selected.”
The government defended the issuance of benefits to noncitizens and persons without an SSN.