The budget agreement signed into law earlier this month brought well-needed relief to the ailing Social Security Disability Insurance fund.
But the fund's financial woes are far from over, and a recently published study by the Government Accountability Office indicates that some of them are self-inflicted. That study found that between 2005 and 2014, the Social Security Administration added roughly $15.4 billion in debt, collecting back just over half of that. The government also waived $1.4 billion of overpayments because the beneficiaries were not at fault.
GAO found a number of procedural issues at the disability insurance fund that contributed to the overpayments including "unclear guidance" to staffers and some procedures for staffers screening potential beneficiaries' work reports.
"Avoiding overpayments is imperative as they pose a burden for beneficiaries who must repay excess benefits and result in lost taxpayer dollars if they are not repaid or are waived by" the Social Security Administration, the GAO researchers said, explaining why the office was asked to undertake the review.