Aug 6, 2015

Social Security Not Doing Data Match With Federal Workers Comp

     The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has done a study on whether Social Security is properly reducing Disability Insurance Benefits by workers compensation benefits paid to former federal employees and found problems. GAO found that the agency was not detecting 13% of the cases where there should have been an offset and that there were probably more cases but GAO could not say for sure due to limitations in Social Security's data. The underlying cause of this problem is Social Security's failure to do a data match with federal workers compensation records. Social Security has felt that such a match would not be cost effective. I was under the impression that the agency was already doing data matches with state workers compensation records. I don't understand why they wouldn't do the same with the federal workers compensation records.


Anonymous said...

SSA in the distant past (sometime in the 80s?) did a one time match with the Department of Labor. My understanding was that SSA wanted to continue the matches but the DOL that was uninterested in continuing them, and you need both parties to agree to any data exchange. SSA does not routinely do data matches with individual State WC records, although again there was at least one one time match (with Texas) in the past. In many cases, the format of an individual State's WC data is totally incompatible with SSA's needs and/or systems and many States do not keep timely, up-to-date records of all the payments made by the individual WC carriers in their State. SSA does have an ongoing match with OPM regarding disability pensions under CSRS, which are considered a Public Disability Benefit to which offset can apply, but this match is becoming less useful since most current disability retirements are under FERS rather than CSRS and thus do not cause PDB offset.

Anonymous said...

2:13 is right. SSA has to either pay for the data or the other party has to agree that a quid pro quo situation exists where both parties benefit and consider the costs a wash. State systems do their own thing regarding how the data is stored, so any such match is custom coded when it is done. Data matching has to pass a cost/benefit exam as well, so while theoretically SSA could match with everyone on everything, it often doesn't make sense to do so.