I’ll bet that without even thinking about it, if I were to ask you what was the most important number you have, you wouldn’t hesitate to answer that it was your Social Security number. Am I right? Without it, you can’t open a bank account, get a passport, and you certainly can’t get a credit card. Your Social Security card is the most important identifier you have, like millions of other Americans. The Federal Government oversees the issuance of Social Security Cards in the Union, and our society has become such that you can’t do anything of real importance without a SS card… that is except when you can. In fact, there are thousands and thousands of people in the United States receiving checks every month from the United States Government who ought not, because they either do not have a Social Security Number or they lack a heartbeat.
In the “Social Security Act,” there is what’s known as “representative payees.” A Representative Payee is a designee who receives benefits on behalf of disabled children, adults and elderly people, people who cannot independently manage their own finances. However, referenced in an article by Eizabeth Harrington of The Washington Free Beacon, an audit by the Inspector General resulted in the discovery that over a 10 year period, one billion dollars in Social Security benefits were paid out to over 22,000 representative payees who have no SS number, had been terminated from the program, or were deceased. In fact, $36.4 million in OASDI (old age, survivor and disability insurance) benefits were paid to 1,654 deceased representative payees and $10.4 million in SSI benefits were paid to 894 deceased representative payees.
The Audit estimated that approximately 2,014 payees did not receive funds after the dates of their death, however about 1,715 deceased payee’s SSNs remained on the beneficiaries/recipients Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) or Supplemental Security Records (SSR). Incorrect SS numbers in SSA’s files compromises SSA’s computer matching efforts. The Inspector General gave the SSA sixty days to overhaul their system and made several recommendations to which SA agreed.
Besides the problem with the dead receiving SS funds, there were other issues. Under the SSA, illegal aliens are permitted to act as Representative Payees for their disabled American citizen children, and over the course of 10 years, the SSA paid to 22,426 RPs $1 billion, in spite of their lack of social security numbers. Additionally, the Inspector General noted in his conclusions that the agency paid $853.1 million in benefits since 2004 to individuals who had been terminated as representative payees by the agency. “Based on our random sample, we estimate that 150,257 beneficiaries had an individual representative payee who had a valid SSN that SSA should have recorded on the MBR/SSR. Of these, 26,912 beneficiaries had representative payees whom, according to eRPS (electronic Representative Payee System), SSA had terminated or not selected.”
As bad as it is to have the money of US taxpayers going to fraudulent, terminated or deceased recipients, this is but one example of the ineffectual ineptness of the government in Washington. Certainly, even a billion dollars can be absorbed by the massive US budget, but when you consider all the other massive waste through obsolete programs and other poorly-run federal agencies, combined with what we have and will overspend, the tally becomes astronomical. And the solution to such problems goes beyond merely choosing new hands to captain our ship of state every four years. The brokenness of the federal system is consistent and deep-rooted, and seems destined to continue in malfeasance and incompetence until this ship sinks.
With all this talk about the dead receiving checks or aliens being paid by the government, it sounds more like a bad TV show or a fun-house ride than a serious discussion of governmental administration. However, I suppose that works as a fitting symbol for Washington: city of a thousand double-dealing carnival barkers. And the way to get off of the this never-ending federal carnival ride is simple: stop buying tickets! Stop choosing to allow Washington to have the final say on what’s best for our state while also spending with abandon; we must reclaim our independence and fiscal sanity. This is the best and only solution for Texas and other would-be-free states. If we don’t, than we are choosing to accept the same abuse, failed solutions, and uncertain future that DC has hitherto delivered on. Effectively, we would be agreeing to taking further rides down this house of horrors, all the while hoping that when the ride breaks down, we’re not left stuck next to the vampires.