Social Security chief under-reported number of Americans facing overpayments

CHARLOTTE — The Social Security chief under-reported to Congress the number of Americans facing Social Security overpayments from the agency by at least 1 million, according to a records request just obtained by Channel 9.

It happened during an October hearing where lawmakers were pressing her agency for accountability.

Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said the 1 million people impacted she reported was for Social Security recipients only and didn’t include Supplemental Security Income, which has a much higher overpayment rate.


It’s the reason Channel 9 and our sister stations along with KFF Health News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the exact numbers.

However, the records request Channel 9 got back shows the number of Americans facing overpayment from the agency is, twice the figure Dr. Kijakazi provides -- with more than 2 million Americans impacted each year.

Investigative reporter Madison Carter has been reporting on the agency’s aggressive attempts to claw back millions of dollars from the Americans it overpaid.

Documents revealed that Kijakazi provided Congress with a smaller subset of beneficiaries despite having the larger numbers listed on the same document from, which she was reading.

The SSA sent Channel 9 a statement saying the agency’s overpayment systems were not designed to easily determine this information and it also further cast doubt on the numbers Kijakazi provided to Congress.

SSA full statement:

“Our overpayment systems were not designed to easily determine this information. Staff provided unverified numbers, which were gathered quickly to help inform the overpayment landscape, to the Acting Commissioner during the hearing. We cannot confirm the accuracy of the information, and we have informed the committee.

“As part of the review directed by the Acting Commissioner, we are looking at how best to inform the Agency, the public, and Congress about this workload.”

VIDEO: Exclusive: Senators send letter questioning SSA about Social Security overpayments

Madison Carter

Madison Carter, wsoctv.com

Madison is an investigative reporter and anchor for Channel 9.

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