Regular reporting by OPM to SSA of deaths of federal retirees would help SSA prevent improper payments to deceased beneficiaries, an IG audit has said after discovering that SSA had paid benefits to some 35 deceased federal retirees for an average of 84 months, at a cost averaging nearly $50,000 each.
It estimated that SSA would have paid more than $250,000 over the next year if the audit had not discovered the discrepancies. It also identified six other persons whose deaths were properly registered but payments continued nonetheless.
While that is only a small fraction of the 65 million beneficiaries receiving more than $900 billion a year from SSA, it signals that the agency is not capturing all deaths in the master file it maintains, the report said.
The report said that SSA receives death reports from other federal agencies but not from OPM, which maintains federal retiree records. It said SSA agreed with a recommendation that it enter into an agreement with OPM to periodically obtain its death records data and that it plans to have such an agreement in place during fiscal 2017.