OIG Identifies Overpayment Debtors on Installment Agreements

Empire Justice Center July 31, 2018

Given the size and complexity of the program of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program, payment errors do occur.


In May 2018, the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Office of Audit published a review of SSA’s efforts to recover OASDI overpayments from debtors who were not current on an installment agreement. When an overpayment occurs, SSA attempts to fully and immediately recover the overpayment. If a full refund is not possible, SSA may withhold part or all of the individual’s monthly benefit, or create an installment plan when the individual is no longer receiving benefits.


If an individual does not comply with the installment plan, SSA is supposed to issue reminder notices and attempt to contact the debtor by telephone. Also, when a debtor cannot repay or is not repaying the overpayment, SSA policy instructs employees to determine whether the individual has current earnings, if there are other persons receiving benefits on the same record, and whether the individual was selected for any external collection tools. POMS, GN 02210.217.


Per the OIG review, 12,267 individuals were identified where the Recovery of Overpayments, Accounting and Reporting (ROAR) system indicated SSA was attempting to recover the overpayment through an installment agreement. For all these overpayments, however, the most recent installment-related action was before June 2016. At the time of the audit, these individuals owed SSA almost $88.3 million in overpaid benefits.


The OIG recommended SSA review the 12,269 delinquent debtor records and take action, where appropriate.


See full report here: https://oig.ssa.gov/audits-and-investigations/audit-reports/A-04-18-50265