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Report: Government paid $38 million to hundreds of dead veterans due to inaccurate VA data

September 07, 2017

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has paid out roughly $38 million in benefits to hundreds of dead veterans who have been deceased for years, according to a report from the Social Security Inspector General.

According to the report, the Social Security Administration continued to pay veterans whom the VA found to be deceased. Some of the people that were listed to be deceased were actually alive, while those who are deceased were still getting paid out. According to the inspector general, the VA failed to share monthly reports with the Social Security Administration.

The findings revealed that approximately $37.7 million in benefits were paid out to 746 veterans after they had died.

“Based on our sample results, we estimate [the] SSA issued about $37.7 million to 746 individuals after they died and will issue approximately $7.3 million more over the next 12 months if these discrepancies are not corrected,” the report said.

“We have notified the VA of our concerns with their data and they are reviewing the issue internally,” Stephanie Hall, Acting Deputy Chief of Staff at the SSA, told Stars and Stripes. “We will continue to process death reports we receive from the VA per our policy, but we are unable to control the accuracy of the information [the] VA provides.”

“SSA issued payments to 3,925 beneficiaries who had dates of death in VA’s records,” the SSA report read. “Our audit results indicated that at least 11 percent of these beneficiaries were alive, and death information in [the] VA’s records was erroneous. However, our audit results also indicated that at least 19 percent of these beneficiaries were deceased, and death information in VA’s records was accurate.”

The status of 100 randomly selected beneficiaries was reviewed by the Social Security Administration. Of the 100 beneficiaries, the status of only 30 people was determined. Nineteen were determined to be deceased, while the other eleven were still alive. The remaining 70 people could not be determined, meaning that there could be more veterans who are dead and receiving checks.