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Chairman Smith: Social Security Must Use Every Tool to Fight Improper Payments

February 22, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Almost nine years after Congress enacted a law to protect seniors from improper Social Security payments, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is finally taking steps to implement it. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) released the following statement after the SSA proposed a rule to combat improper payments through use of a payroll information exchange:

“Seniors and people with disabilities should not be on the hook for avoidable improper payments made by the Social Security Administration. Yet the delay in implementing the use of a payroll information exchange to combat such improper payments has cost countless Social Security beneficiaries time, money, and undue stress over the past several years. The law allowing the SSA to protect seniors against improper payments by use of a payroll information exchange was passed nearly nine years ago. This tool is long overdue. 

“The situation has been getting worse. In Fiscal Year 2022 alone, Social Security’s Disability Insurance and Old-Age and Survivors Insurance programs are estimated to have made more than $8.3 billion in combined improper payments, more than three times as much as in FY 2021. This included nearly $6.5 billion in overpayments. Additionally, the Supplemental Security Insurance program made $4.6 billion in overpayments in FY 2022, an increase of more than $500 million from FY 2021. Meanwhile, an untold millions of Americans are receiving notices from the Social Security Administration for overpayments that shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. That is why the Ways and Means Committee has aggressively pressed the agency to follow the law and use every tool at its disposal to combat improper payments – to protect both American taxpayers and Social Security beneficiaries from the government’s mistakes. Thanks to that Congressional oversight work, the Social Security Administration is finally taking steps to do more to stop improper payments and protect seniors. We will continue to monitor the Social Security Administration’s rollout of this important tool.”


  • July 31, 2023: Chairman Smith, Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Drew Ferguson (GA-03), and Work & Welfare Subcommittee Chairman Darin LaHood (IL-16) write the SSA demanding that the SSA follow the law and implement guardrails against improper payments.
  • October 18, 2023: The Social Security Subcommittee holds a hearing on the harm caused by improper payments and again urges the SSA to establish the guardrails against improper payments Congress passed back in 2015.
  • February 15, 2024: The Social Security Administration proposes a rule governing the use of payroll information exchanges in an effort to combat improper payments, including overpayments.