(Washington Free Beacon) The Social Security Administration made $37 million worth of benefit payments to dead veterans, according to a new audit.

The inspector general for the agency reported more retirement and disability payments could be made to deceased individuals if action is not taken to correct the government’s death record system.

Payments to roughly 750 dead people resulted in millions of taxpayer dollars wasted, including one instance where an individual continued to receive benefits 26 years after his death.

“SSA issued payments to 3,925 beneficiaries who had dates of death in VA’s records,” the inspector general said. “Our audit results indicated that at least 11 percent of these beneficiaries were alive, and death information in VA’s records was erroneous. However, our audit results also indicated that at least 19 percent of these beneficiaries were deceased, and death information in VA’s records was accurate.”

The inspector general found that, in most instances, the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to disclose death information to the SSA.

“Based on our sample results, we estimate SSA issued about $37.7 million to 746 individuals after they died and will issue approximately $7.3 million more over the next 12 months if these discrepancies are not corrected,” the inspector general said.

More deceased veterans could be receiving payments, since the inspector general could not determine the status of 70 out of the 100 beneficiaries in their sample, and identified hundreds more individuals who may have died…

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