Social Security makes $8B in improper payments

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER | June 14, 2011 | 2:15 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government investigator says the Social Security Administration made $6.5 billion in overpayments to people not entitled to receive them in 2009, including $4 billion under a supplemental income program for the very poor

The Social Security inspector general told Congress Tuesday that most of the overpayments were made to people who were ineligible for Supplemental Security Income. The IG said that 10 percent of the payments made under the program were improper.

Error rates were much smaller for retirement, survivor and disability benefits.

Carolyn W. Colvin, a deputy commissioner of Social Security, said the agency has improved the accuracy of its payments in each of the past three years, and is working to make even more improvements.