The Social Security Administration (SSA) paid violent sexual predators nearly $524,000, in violation of federal law. 

According to a new audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the SSA awarded benefits to 18 sexual predators after they were moved from prison to Special Commitment Centers (SCC). 

SCCs, such as the one on McNeil Island in Washington state, are mental health centers designated only for violent sex offenders after they complete their prison sentence to protect public safety. 

"Our review indicated that, after states transferred these sexual predators from prison to an SCC, the individuals contacted SSA to apply for benefits or request resumption of payments that SSA had suspended while they were incarcerated," the OIG said. "While benefit suspension provisions continued to apply to these individuals, a mechanism had not been established to ensure SCCs reported inmate information to SSA. Consequently, SSA did not have the information it needed to prevent initiation of payments to these individuals." 

As a result, 18 violent sexual predators who were "involuntarily confined" in four SCCs across the country received $523,987 in benefits. 

"Federal law requires that the Social Security Administration (SSA) suspend benefit payments to certain individuals who are in institutions as sexually dangerous persons," the OIG noted. 

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