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Social Security's mess

| Tuesday, June 30, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

As Social Security's disability programs approach a fiscal cliff by the end of next year, yet another report shines a stark light on beneficiaries receiving overpayments — in this case, amounting to almost half the program's recipients between 2004 and 2014.

The report by Social Security's inspector general found that government's tangled “safety net” overpaid $16.8 billion to an estimated 44.5 percent of beneficiaries. The government managed to recover only half of that sum.

Even more alarming is the ongoing trend among people flagrantly abusing disability payments and Supplemental Security Income. Most overpayments involved recipients who were working or receiving other income. In effect, some people are using the money for early retirement or to cushion their unemployment, according to some critics.

Then there are the benefits paid to dead people. In one case, a man collected disability payments for his dead dad. Ordered to repay nearly $18,000, he came up with only $550, according to The Daily Signal.

Yet despite documentation of Social Security's administrative dysfunction, Congress drags its feet on any commonsense correction, such as pending legislation that would provide time-limited disability benefits and encourage able-bodied beneficiaries to return to work.

Rather than pour more money through this sieve, Congress must rein in this mess. The result will benefit those truly in need.

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