From Denny: Guess what our government finally figured out after it had been going on for decades? Yes, they have been paying out benefits to dead guys.
A lot of money, to the tune of $600 million, was going to retired or disabled federal workers. Talk about a great retirement plan. It's so good our government pays you after you die too. Who says government doesn't have a heart?
This week, Patrick McFarland, Office of Personnel Management inspector general, reported his incredible finding. According to him, his office has been aware of the problem since the 2005 report detailing similar cases such as this outrageous story:
A father dies in 1971 and then his son receives his benefits - for 37 years. The office did not find out about this issue until the son died in 2008. The son had received benefits that amounted to $515,000.
The 2005 inspector report uncovered there were defects in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. "Do ya think?" They knew these payments were continuing to be made to dead people back in 2005. They tried about six times to create a system that could figure out who was still alive and who was dead. Many deaths go unreported.
Instead of waiting upon a system maybe they ought to check with the IRS to track the social security number to see when the last time was the person filed a tax return. If one has not been filed in a decade you could be sure they are off the grid - permanently.
The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is also another good place to start checking. Usually, deaths are recorded in this index as soon as 30 days, but sometimes longer, like six months when the stats are coming from states like Florida.
The understatement of the year is that this office, OPM Director John Berry, says "stopping the improper payments should be a priority."
Just how many people receive the $60 billion in benefit payments each year? About 2.5 million.
OPM decided to take a sampling of how many of their recipients were over 90 years old and still kicking the old school. In 2009, they discovered there were over 125,000 folks over the age of 90. Over the age of 100? There were found to be as many as 3,400.
It gets better. Guess how many stimulus payments went to dead people or guys in prison? Remember, those payments were meant as an economic recovery package where consumer spending would help stimulate the economy. Those $250 checks were sent out to 89,000 people, dead - or alive in prison.
It broke down like this: $18 million went to 72,000 dead people. Another $4.3 million went to 17,000 prison inmates.
Many of the inmates who did get the monies were actually eligible. How? If they were newly incarcerated and had not been getting Social Security payments before they got locked up then they could keep the cash.
With it being an election year, Congress and President Obama have promised to make it a high priority and crack down on improper government payments. Now if someone would just include in that promise all the exorbitant idiot foreign aid payments we make to foreign dictators that end up in their personal Swiss bank accounts...
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