News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 16, 2012

SOCIAL SECURITY: Social Security committed to reducing improper payments

Brian Hewitt
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Making proper Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments is no game. But improving our accuracy has some similarities to a good sporting event strategy. You’ve got to be strong on both defense and offense.

Social Security is committed to reducing improper payments. Our goal has always been to pay the right person the right amount at the right time. And we’re highly successful at doing that.

In paying retirement, survivors, and disability benefits to more than 55 million people each month, our accuracy rate is more than 99 percent.

When it comes to Supplemental Security Income — the means-tested program for elderly, disabled and blind people who have limited income and resources – our payment accuracy is about 91 percent.

As with a good game of football, basketball, soccer or baseball, we need a game plan to improve payment accuracy. Here is ours:

On offense, we check and recheck our benefit computations and recipient information. That’s done before the “game” begins, before we ever make a payment.

On defense, we have game plans, or strategies, to collect funds back from the person we improperly paid, especially if the error was the result of a beneficiary failing or incorrectly reporting an event that affects his or her payment amount. When an individual commits fraud in order to receive payments not due, we prosecute him or her to the fullest extent of the law.

We will continue to work on offense and defense in our efforts to perfect our game plan and to ensure each and every payment is paid to the right person, at the right time, and in the right amount. Learn more about what Social Security is doing to prevent improper payments by visiting our website on the subject at