According to the Social Security records, up to 66,920 people in the U.S. have lived long enough to reach the age of 112. But reality looks different: it seems like only 42 people in the entire world have reached this incredible age.
Who should be trust? Definitely not the Social Security reports. According to an audit done by the agency’s inspector general, the oldest person among these people seems to have been born in 1869 and millions of others do not have death records. In addition, only 13 of these people are benefiting from Social Security services.
All of the other people still have their Social Security numbers active. Their numbers can be used to obtain credits, report waged, open bank accounts and request fraudulent tax refunds. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. said this is a serious problem.
Their numbers have been used between 2006 and 2011 and those people who are now supposed to be 112 years old have collectively reported $3.1 billion. The sum includes self-employment income, wages and tips.
On Monday the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has scheduled a hearing on this matter. The agency declared that they are currently working on improving the accuracy of the records. A senior adviser to the agency’s deputy commissioner, Sean Brune, said that it would be very costly and time-consuming to verify information from decades ago, especially when the agency used paper records. He said that the records are not reliable.
The Social Security Administration has promised to attach or correct the information about the death records and finish the analysis before the end of the fiscal year 2015. 5 million records should be updated by then.
The person responsible with the loss and illegal practices inside the agency has not reported any unusual or fraudulent payments to the people concerned, but warnings that illegalities could be unfolding were launched.
The director of policy and advocacy for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Paul Stephens, is convinced this is fraudulent activity. He said that there are no individual victims, but the fraud is committed against a government agency. However if money are being paid to a deceased individual, taxpayers are affected as a group.
Stephens said that the main concern of people should not be whether their identities will be stolen after they death. Instead they should worry about being reported death when they are still alive. This can have far more disastrous consequences according to him. People in such circumstances cannot use their accounts or apply for new credit cards.
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