Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is asking the Social Security Administration to account for promised plans to reduce billions of dollars in improper Social Security payments each year. The improper payment rate for the last fiscal year was $7.9 billion.
"Improper payments cost the taxpayers billions of dollars a year and strain the system for those who rely on the benefits," Grassley said. "The government has to take concrete steps to fight the problem, especially when it knows the payments could be improper and fails to stop them."
In a letter to the Social Security Administration, Grassley cited inspector general and agency statistics that show the Continuing Disability Review and redetermination processes are the most important program integrity tools available to the agency, yet the agency has a backlog of those reviews or fails to conduct them as needed. Also, the Department of Justice has not prosecuted improper payment cases because the Social Security Administration in some cases is allowing the payments to continue, despite possessing information that should trigger a review.
"Those who perpetrate fraud against the government should be stopped and prosecuted," Grassley said. "If the Social Security Administration knows payments are improper and doesn't stop them, that's a basic management failure. Allowing fraud sends the wrong message that crime pays."