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SSA paying vets who are dead, not paying some who are alive

The inspector general of the Social Security Administration reported that improper payments amounting to almost $38 million were made to 746 deceased veterans, some of whom may have been from California. The deaths were not properly entered into Social Security databases, according to the inspector, and the payments were discovered during an audit. The findings of the audit were reported in August 2017. Unless its records are brought up to date, the SSA is likely to make a further $7.3 million in erroneous payments by August 2018.

On the other side of the problem, a large number of veterans were listed in databases as deceased when they were, in fact, still alive. The SSA gathers information about the deaths of beneficiaries from relatives and friends, state and federal agencies, financial institutions and funeral homes. Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs provides the SSA with death records every month, based on data from the Veterans Service Network and the Beneficiary Identification Records Locator System. Employees of the SSA are supposed to independently verify information from the DVA.

In one case, the inspector general found that the SSA continued to pay benefits to a veteran who had died in Thailand in 2008. Auditors found that $160,000 in payments had been made after the man had died. Among the recommendations of the inspector general were that the SSA should work with the VA system to bring about a more accurate and comprehensive exchange of information.

In a case where an individual is due benefits from Social Security and the money is not arriving, an attorney might be able to help. An attorney with experience in Social Security Disability regulations may be able to communicate with government officials on the client's behalf or draft and file legal paperwork to secure benefits.

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