Jul 17, 2014

Some People Who Are Alleged To Have Been Overpaid Are Just The Victims Of Identity Theft

     The summary of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study:
GAO's analysis of wages reported in the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) initially showed that the Social Security Administration (SSA) made $19 million in potential overpayments to 10,187 recipients through its Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program in fiscal year 2010. Using a different methodology that includes additional causes of overpayments not considered in GAO's analysis, SSA estimated it made $3.3 billion in SSI overpayments in fiscal year 2010. The majority (70 percent) of the estimated overpayment amount GAO identified showed indications of possible Social Security number (SSN) misuse, such as employers reporting wages for recipients in multiple locations during the same quarter. For example, GAO determined that wages for 2,399 SSI recipients were reported solely by employers outside the recipient's state of residence. As the figure below shows, one individual in California had wages reported from 11 different employers in seven other states during the same quarter of calendar year 2010. This suggests that multiple individuals may be using the SSI recipient's SSN and name for work. The exact number of individuals who received overpayments and the exact amount of overpayments made to those individuals cannot be determined without detailed case investigations by SSA. GAO analyzed five recipient cases and provided the results to SSA.
     Some of the people who have wages reported in other states actually did the work and some may be complicit in the misuse of their identity but you'd have to think that in most cases the claimant is just the innocent victim of identity theft and the overpayment isn't really an overpayment since the claimant didn't actually receive the wages.


Anonymous said...

The NDNH lists corporate locations not local locations. For instance, a person may work for a local location of a chain in Ohio, but the NDNH will show a New York address. There is also a "SSN Verified" section with either a Y or N. If it's a N, it's usually incorrect reporting. Finally, you shouldn't post wages to record without at minimum asking the claimant if they worked at the location reported. Having said that, the reason they get posted is usually because the claimant fails to report when they work.

I'm my area, the SSI recipients file fraudulent tax returns to get the earned income tax credit. Then come in crying they didn't work!

I think "victim" is the wrong word to describe most of these individuals.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 9:01. The NDNH has the corporate offices unless everyone who works at Wal Mart does so in Bentonville AR and everyone in the military works in Cleveland OH.

We have gotten pretty good at figuring out the No Surname Match alerts are based on ID Theft. What I don't understand is why we allow the employers to continue to report wages for people under SSN's that belong to someone else. Oh right, the employer has to hire the illegal immigrant since there are no US citizens who will do the job.

I wonder if Congress is ever going to do anything about the rampant fraud in self-employment and EITC. There are people becoming insured for SSDI by claiming false businesses and get the FICA taxes paid by the EITC. What a deal! Don't really work, get a refund of income taxes that you never paid, and someday get a retirement check based on that fraud.

Anonymous said...

My adult son (IQ less than 50, so let's keep the sniping about whether he can work off the table)for whom I am the rep payee kept getting called in to discuss his work in California. We live in Maryland. Let's avoid the discussion about how the cuts in hours meant that the office told me to come in at a time I could not, else he'd stop getting paid. I came in when I could, waited 2 hours and brought my son, who clearly couldn't be working at the agricultural company in California. I wrote a letter for the record stating that this was a case of someone using his SSN to work, the wages were not his, should not be posted to his ER and asked if future alerts from this source could not trigger the required meeting. Nope, while we "cleared" that quarter's issue, for 3 more quarters, we got called in and each time disavowed the work and earnings.

Since SSA didn't have the resources to track the alleged misuse of my son's SSN, I finally used the employer data from the alerts to start Googling the company and found a lot of press about migrant wage camps on their land, investigations etc. I could not find a working phone number for the employer. So I called the reporter. He was able to give me some leads to other companies owned by the same group, and there I got a hold of the owner, a middle aged lady.

I explained who I was, that someone in their hire was using my son's SSN to work, my son was getting SSI and every time the wage reports were made I was getting called in. Told her I was getting tired of it, that I didn't care what was going on at their end if she could make it stop, else I was getting ready to react by making a stink with SSA, the DOL, Agriculture and whatever state agencies might be interested in how this was occurring. I spoke about Immigration being interested, and how this was making my disabled son look like a liar.

She took the information, admitted nothing but said she'd have the bookkeeper fix things and to call her back if it ever happened again. It hasn't. Surprise, surprise....

Anonymous said...

SSA doesn't handle identity theft, it's the FTC.