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Social Security Administration

Bankruptcy streamlining

Currently, each Social Security program service center controls the filing of "proofs of claim" against bankruptcies filed by overpaid beneficiaries. Because the attorneys and courts involved rarely understand the distribution of work within the agency, notices and requests to file are sent randomly to whichever processing center the attorney is familiar with. This begins a chain of inefficiency which includes (but is not limited to) intra-agency routing of these materials, unnecessary rehandling within each processing center, redundant printing of digitally delivered materials, and the missing of deadlines due to a combination of inefficiency and staffing concerns.

At Mid America in Kansas City, the process works like this:

Materials are received into the Debt Management Unit via US Mail, email, and other sources. Each technician who receives materials related to bankruptcy must route the material to a supervisor who catalogs the source of the material. A database is updated and the materials are forwarded to a technician who must identify the Social Security Number of the involved parties, and identify if the case meets the requirements to file a proof of claim and attempt to reclaim the money due to the agency. This technician updates a second database and forwards selected materials to a third person to file the proof of claim, which must be routed no less than three more times before reaching the agency attorneys. The technician who updates the second database also forwards a majority of the materials received to the correct processing center. In my experience upwards of 75% of the material must be routed to another processing center before this cycle begins anew. It is not uncommon to be 2 months or more behind on these cases, and close to deadlines which if missed, easily tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars can be lost by the agency.

If one central office controlled bankruptcy proceeding for the agency, millions could be recovered more efficiently.

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Idea No. 13182