SSA Stepping Up Enforcement of Benefits Reductions

Sep 28, 2018 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

The SSA “has made progress” in increasing its enforcement of two benefit offsets that commonly apply to federal employees—the government pension offset (GPO) and the windfall elimination provision(WEP)—but still is making overpayments and should consider acting to recover the excess, an audit has said.

The SSA two years ago started triggering “system alerts” to identify beneficiaries potentially subject to one or both of the reductions and to make sure they are imposed when pertinent, an inspector general report said. For retired federal employees, SSA receives monthly pension notifications from the Office of Personnel Management.

The IG noted that in 2008 and 2013 it found that the SSA was not imposing the offsets in all cases they applied. In the 2013 report it found that the agency had not taken corrective action in all the overpayment cases identified in 2008; in the most recent report it found the same regarding the cases identified in 2013.

In the most recent audit, the IG looked at about 15,500 beneficiaries who had been subjected to either the WEP or the GPO but not both. Of those, it found that the SSA was overpaying about 3,700, totaling about $50 million in overpayments since 2013.

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