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Fact Sheet: How much waste, fraud, and abuse is there in Social Security?

Mar 15, 2016 | Social Security

• The Social Security Trustees estimate that reducing benefits to restore solvency would require an immediate 16.4 percent benefit cut – the equivalent of reducing benefits this year by more than $150 billion.

• According to the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General, in 2013 just over 1,500 deceased individuals in all age ranges were still receiving benefits. They account for only $15 million in improper benefit payments.

• A 2015 report found 6.5 million active Social Security numbers for people over the age of 112 – but only 13 of them were being used to receive benefits.

• According to the Social Security Administration, all improper payments, including payments to the deceased and the very old, are estimated at about $3 billion per year.

• Total Social Security benefits in 2016 will exceed $900 billion, so eliminating $3 billion per year of improper payments would reduce costs by at most 0.4 percent, extending the program’s solvency by about 3 months.

• Cutting improper payments for only the very old or the deceased would reduce program costs by between 0.00002 and 0.002 percent, extending the program’s solvency by between six minutes and 12 hours.