The Social Security Administration issued nearly $200 million in improper payments by paying people twice for their benefits.
The inspector general for the agency found that individuals with more than one Social Security Number received $171 million, according to a new audit. In many cases, the payments were issued to SSNs held by deceased individuals.
"We identified more than 5,000 instances where, contrary to Agency policy, SSA appeared to simultaneously issue monthly [Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance] OASDI benefits and/or SSI payments to individuals under both of their cross-referred SSNs," the inspector general said.
"We also identified over 13,000 instances where SSA continued paying beneficiaries after it recorded death information on their cross-referred SSNs," the inspector general said.
Approximately 4.9 million people have more than one SSN. Individuals who are victims of identity fraud can receive a new SSN, though they are not entitled to receive benefits under both numbers.