The Social Security Administration sees dead people.
A report from the Office of the Inspector General found that there are 6.5 million active Social Security numbers on file which belong to people aged 112 and up. Meanwhile, there are only 35 people older than 112 in the world.
The Office of Inspector General believes that this could be a huge avenue for fraud and waste. For example, from 2008-2011, Social Security numbers for nearly 4,000 people over the age of 100 were run through the E-Verify system, which determines work eligibility. Recently, a man opened bank accounts for two people born in the late 1800s.
The inspector general says this is the result of the Social Security Administration poorly managing the data. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, had a different take on the report.
“Tens of thousands of these numbers are currently being used to report wages to the Social Security Administration and to the IRS. People are fraudulently, but successfully, applying for jobs and benefits with these numbers,” Johnson said.
The Social Security Administration says it doesn’t have the resources to fix this problem and would rather focus on accurately paying benefits.
Read more from NPR.org:
Here are some other findings:
"For Tax Years 2006 through 2011, SSA received reports that individuals using 66,920 SSNs had approximately $3.1 billion in wages, tips, and self-employment income. SSA transferred the earnings to the Earnings Suspense File because the employees' or self-employed individuals' names on the earnings reports did not match the numberholders' names.
"During Calendar Years 2008 through 2011, employers made 4,024 E-Verify inquiries using 3,873 SSNs belonging to numberholders born before June 16, 1901.
In a joint statement, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees the Social Security Administration, and ranking member Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., criticized the department.
"It is incredible that the Social Security Administration in 2015 does not have the technical sophistication to ensure that people they know to be deceased are actually noted as dead," Johnson said.
Carper added: "Not only do these types of avoidable errors waste millions of taxpayers' dollars annually and expose our citizens to identity theft, but they also undermine confidence in our government."
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