Auditors in the Social Security Administration's inspector general's office have discovered that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has paid at least $31 million to deceased people who were listed as deceased in the SSA's own records.
The auditors determined the $31 million figure by examining a sample of 200 auxiliary beneficiaries - people who can receive Social Security benefits as a result of their relationship to a deceased person - and found that 33 of the people in the sample who were receiving benefits were deceased, and these people were listed as deceased in the SSA records.
It was also discovered that 165 people in the sample were alive, even though the agency's records listed them as being deceased.
The examination has resulted in nearly 1,400 separate investigations so far and specific identification has been made of $11.5 million that was paid to deceased people. So far $6.1 million of that amount has been recovered or is expected to be recovered.
Criminal fraud charges have been filed against eight people who have cashed the checks through joint checking accounts with the deceased SSA payment recipients.