Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG) did a study on collection of overpayments through long term repayment plans. Social Security deducts amounts from current benefits to repay the debt. The amount of the deduction depends upon the claimant's income. OIG found that some claimants were so poor that their monthly repayment amount wereso low that they would die before their overpayments were recouped. OIG's response: Stop worrying about whether the claimants have enough money to live on; just recoup more each month. Social Security's response is that they agree. They want to go to collecting at least 10% of monthly benefits without regard to whether this leaves the claimant with enough money to live on. They're not sure if they can just change their regulations or whether they need new legislation.
And by the way, many, perhaps most, of these overpayments are due to mistakes made by the Social Security Administration. Few are due to fraud.