GAO responds to criticism of Social Security audit
The Government Accountability Office is strongly defending its new audit of potentially improper or fraudulent Social Security benefits payments to thousands of federal workers and other individuals.
As The Eye first reported today, almost 1,500 federal workers may have received improper or fraudulent Social Security payments in the last several years, according to a new GAO audit.
But the Social Security Administration pushed back strongly against the report, calling it "fatally and hopelessly flawed," because it relies on anecdotes and "inflammatorily characterized the situations it found."
GAO spokesman Chuck Young said SSA officials met with Acting Comptroller Gene Dodaro and the investigative team that conducted the audit in March. The auditing agency agreed to review and revise the investigation based on concerns expressed by Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue.
"SSA also expressed concerns about the methodology for our overall analysis of the potential for fraudulent and improper payments," Young said in an e-mail. "We believe that our report adequately portrays the facts. GAO conducted its work with its own auditors, analysts and criminal investigators. No special contractors or consultants were hired so costs were limited to staff hours and in keeping with typical GAO audits. Our investigators working on this case have substantial experience in fraud investigations across the federal government."
CNBC also reported on the GAO audit this morning in the clip below:
| August 4, 2010; 8:05 AM ET
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