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Social Security made improper payments in 2009 to the tune of $8 billion

June 14, 2011 |  4:13 pm

Social Security payments Social Security made $8 billion in improper payments in 2009. The administration forked over $6.5 billion in over-payments while underpaying some recipients to the tune of $1.5 billion, a government investigator told Congress on Tuesday.

Of the over payments, $4 billion were under a supplemental income program for the very poor, Patrick P. O’Carroll Jr., the inspector general for the Social Security Administration, told a congressional panel.

"By any standard, the scope of these problems is considerable,"  Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee said, according to the Associated Press.

"Regardless of whether a payment occurs because of simple error or outright fraud, improper payments harm Social Security programs in the long term, jeopardizing benefits for those who may need them in the future. They also cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year," Boustany said.

Last month, presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul asserted that Social Security was unconstitutional.

Fox News' Chris Wallace questioned the longtime conservative congressman about his stance. 

"You talk a lot about the Constitution. You say Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid are all unconstitutional," Wallace asked.

"Technically, they are," Paul replied. "There’s no authority [in the Constitution]. Article I, Section 8 doesn’t say I can set up an insurance program for people. What part of the Constitution are you getting it from? The liberals are the ones who use this General Welfare Clause. … That is such an extreme liberal viewpoint that has been mistaught in our schools for so long and that’s what we have to reverse—that very notion that you’re presenting."

"Congressman, it’s not just a liberal view. It was the decision of the Supreme Court in 1937 when they said that Social Security was constitutional under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution," Wallace rebutted.

"And the Constitution and the courts said slavery was legal too, and we had to reverse that," the man affectionately called "Dr. No" said.



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Photo: In this file photo, Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr. , inspector general of the Social Security Administration, answers questions Nov. 15, 2010, in Akron, Ohio. Credit: Associated Press