September 22, 2013

NOSSCR Response to GAO Report

The National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) sent an email to their members on September 19 regarding the recent Government Accounting Office (GAO) report entitled Work Activity Indicates Certain Social Security Disability Insurance Payments Were Potentially Improper.

The respected organization's message called into question the GAO's "limited methodology" that was used to compute the estimated $ 1.3 billion in "potentially improper payments" made to SSDI beneficiaries, as GAO "did not take into Social Security's work rules".  Additionally, in the report's response, the SSA also questioned GAO's method of computing the $ 1.3 billion, saying it could lead to a "substantial overstatement".

I agree with both NOSSCR and the SSA here.  The GAO didn't fully understand the complex and technical SSDI work rules and exceptions, such as Trial Work Periods (TWP).  Instead, they applied a one-size fits all approach: if you work after your date of disability onset, then you were not disabled in the past and are not disabled now.

Even with the grossly inflated dollar amount, which headline writers across the nation were quick to flock to, it is important to remember this amount still only represents about 0.5 percent of SSDI payments and beneficiaries that may have received improper payments.

Steve Perrigo
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Steve Perrigo

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