The current policy for estimating wages SI 00820.155 only attempts to match current wages and does not enforce monthly wage reporting by a set procedure to overestimate wages to prevent overpayments. As a result, many deemors will go months or even years without reporting their wages to Social Security. The result is enormous overpayments in the thousands of dollars that are virtually uncollectable based on the maximum collection rate of 10% of the Federal Benefit Rate, currently $67.40 a month. An overpayment of $5,000 will take over 6 years to collect under current legislation. At which a point deemors and beneficiaries become discouraged and realize that there can be no additional penalty for future overpayments.
In order to eliminate many of these problems additional provisions should be placed to suspend benefits for unverified months of employment. These provisions will not only eliminate the majority of wage related overpayments but will also encourage SSI Telephone Wage Reporting, reduce post entitlement workloads, and bring awareness to reporting responsibilities. The funds saved through loss reduction can then be used to fund work incentive programs while still leaving abundance in savings. The staffing costs associated with wage reporting will be offset by the reduction in post entitlement workloads and the encouragement of using automated systems such as SSITWR.