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Government audit finds astoundingly bad recordkeeping by Social Security (US)

by Integrity of information, Records and operational performance, Systemic failure, Vital records

Much of the Social Security Administration’s information on who’s dead and who isn’t is “inaccurate, incomplete or untimely” and could “lead to improper payments,” according to a government audit.

The report by the Government Accountability Office found numerous errors – including recording beneficiaries’ ages at deaths as between 115 and 195 year old — and cases where the agency recorded the death a decade or longer after it occurred. Such problems may also affect the payments issued by other federal agencies that rely heavily on Social Security data.

Most other federal agencies rely on data from the Social Security Administration to make payments to individuals. In fiscal year 2012, about $108 billion in improper federal payments were issued, according to the Office of Management and Budget. In one case, more than $500,000 in federal retirement benefits were being paid to a dead beneficiary’s son over the course of 37 years because of bad federal record-keeping.

It’s not a new problem. In a separate audit last year, Social Security’s own inspector general found that 1.2 million dead beneficiaries were not on the agency’s death data file.

Read more: The Blaze, January 1, 2014

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