Jun 25, 2015

4% Error Rate In Computing SSI Attorney Fees

     From a recent report by Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG):
For the 250 randomly sampled Title XVI claims involving claimant representative fees, SSA withheld fee s from claimants’ past-due benefits and paid the fees directly to the claimant representative. However, our review found that SSA did not always pay the appropriate amount when it paid the claimant representative fee on concurrent Title II and XVI claims. As a result, when SSA overpaid the claimant representative, it generally underpaid the claimant. Similarly, when SSA underpaid the claimant representative, it generally overpaid the claimant. 
Of the 250 sample claimant representative fees, 10 (4 percent) had claimant fee payment errors totaling $13,020: $12,479 in overpayments and $541 in underpayments. The payments ranged from a $3,062 overpayment to a $484 underpayment. Based on our results, we estimate that 15,200 claimant representative fee payments had about $19.8 million in payment errors for Calendar Years 2011 and 2012.
We acknowledge that computing past-due benefits and the related claimant representative fees may be complex, as staff is required to analyze a multitude of factors and make various decisions to pay the past-due benefits and fee. ...

6 comments:

Johnny Cash said...

And it's great fun when SSA over pays the attorney fee. In a recent case I caught the mistake right away and attempted to return the check. SSA would just reissue a new one. I had to return the check 3 times before they stopped sending a new one.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I doubt many reps report these overpayments

Anonymous said...

The reps have to report the overpayments or they face sanctions and other problems down the road. Somehow I doubt that if you think everyone is ripping of a system if you are not ripping of a system yourself.

Anonymous said...

The easy solution is for SSA to get out of the business of calculating fees.

Anonymous said...

Amen!

Annie42 said...

The errors probably occur because of the offset w/T2 benefits. All of this could be solved by having the calculations of both benefits done by the SAME office; it is a vast waste of time and resources to have two different offices (i.e., payment center and the local district office) calculating the past due benefits. I spend a lot of time trying to just get the two of them to talk to each other, and I always warn my dual-eligible clients to expect it to take 6-12 months for everything to get worked out. (And it is often longer than that for me to get my fees, but my clients are the ones who are really hurt by this inefficiency.)