According to the Social Security Administration (SSA) there are about 6.5 million Americans aged 112 or even older who hold active social security numbers. As a result, the Inspector General’s Office warned that such a situation may encourage fraud and countless cases of identity theft.
The astonishing number of people who seemingly got to live more than 100 years clearly contradicts statistics which show that, across the globe, no more than 35 people grew to be 112 years old or older. But since Numident (the SSA’s computer database containing all the information filed when people apply for a Social Security Number) counts millions of active SSNs for centenarians, authorities warn that this may leave an open window for underserved benefits.
The OIG explained that the world’s oldest man died on September 2013 at age 112. Additionally, the Gerontology Research Group’s public data show that, as of October 2013, only 35 people around the globe grew to be 112 or older. So, the millions of super centenarians listed in the US social security database may signal both a technical and legal problem.
Recently, the Inspector General’s Office reported that it had verified the 6.5 million SSNs by matching them against SSA’s E-Verify and Earnings Suspense File systems to learn that thousands of SSNs may be involved in identity thefts or other frauds.
Additionally, almost 70,000 of the questionable SSNs had been employed by their users or other people to report more than $3 billion in wages over the 2006-2011period.
“One SSN appeared on 613 different suspended wage reports, and 194 additional SSNs appeared on at least 50 suspended wage reports that SSA received during this 6-year period,”
said a spokesperson for the OIG.
The office also explained that people can commit various frauds and cheat the government by reporting earnings when using a dead individual’s social security number. Additionally, the SSA reported that last fall, more than 260 people who were born before June 16, 1901 had received benefits payments from the government.
Tom Carper, Delaware Senator and chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, described the situation as “unacceptable.” He said that the database of Social Security numbers should be updated since it is impossible for thousands of people to have birth certificates dating before the Civil War.
Sen. Carpers also suggested that the agency should keep track on who dies and when as its highest priority.