WASHINGTON — A government watchdog says Social Security overpaid nearly half the people receiving disability benefits over the past decade.
In all, a 10-year study by the agency’s inspector general found that Social Security overpaid beneficiaries by nearly $17 billion.
Many payments went to people who earned too much money to qualify for benefits, or to people who weren’t disabled anymore. Some payments went to people who had died or to prison inmates.
The study released Friday says Social Security recouped about $8.1 billion, but it often took years to get the money back.
A spokesman for the Social Security Administration says the agency has a high accuracy rate for its payments and a comprehensive debt collection program for overpayments.