The Corner

Corrections facility

This is worth bearing in mind when pondering the likelihood of Social Security reform:

More than 44,000 people have received approximately $140 million in extra, undeserved payments because of clerical and other errors by the Social Security Administration (SSA), according to estimates by the agency’s inspector general.

The SSA has continued making overpayments even after learning of errors because of an internal rule known as “administrative finality.”

Under the policy, the SSA cannot reduce benefits for disability and other beneficiaries after four years except in cases of fraud, even if they learn that incorrect calculations are responsible for the overpayments….

Social Security officials are resisting Mr. O’Carroll’s recommendation to change the administrative finality rules, citing unforeseen administrative costs and fears that any policy changes could shake public confidence in the agency. 

But overpaying people in perpetuity doesn’t? And is it really true that the “unforeseen administrative costs” are so prohibitive that it’s cheaper to carry on with the overpayments?

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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