When disability benefits are paid to a number holder, the process for monitoring the continued validity of the claim, over years, is woefully inadequate. The agency is losing millions of dollars, if not more, due to the lack of training, resources, or access to other federal agencies data. Often when an overpayment is discovered, it is usually several years after the fact. By the time the overpayment finally reaches the Administrative Law Judge hearing level, too many people with little to no training have been involved in the case. This causes inaccurate and inadequate notices to the number holder and poor or misinformation in the file. If the number holder is not properly notified of the overpayment, including any ongoing investigation or decisions, the Administrative Law Judge has no choice except to rule in favor of the number holder, thereby waiving the overpayment, whether it’s $50,000 or $1,000.
Within the agency, Title II and Title VXI components do not share information. The number of overpayments created when workers’ compensation is involved is astronomical. I have been told Title II and Title XVI components do not “talk” to each other yet, they might be in the same office sitting across the aisle from each other.
I would think if a state workers’ compensation department could be linked with SSA, the amount of preventable overpayments would certainly help the current debt issue. The overpayments I have discussed are extremely common and I find them very disturbing and I am amazed at the poor quality, of documentation and/or development, of overpayment cases appealed to the hearing level.
If SSA could be linked to the IRS system, or vice versa, any notifications of unreported income or resources received by IRS, could be almost immediately provided to SSA and thereby preventing years of continued payments after the number holder was due payments.