April 19,2001

Grassley Announces Hearing on Improper Medicare, Social Security Payments

Hearing: “Medicare and Social Security Benefits: Turning Off the Spigot to Prisoners,Fugitives, the Deceased and Other Ineligibles”

Date/time: Wednesday, April 25, 2001, at 10 a.m.

Location: 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Description: The Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs spend millions of dollars ayear on benefits to ineligible people such as prisoners, fugitives, the deceased,deportees and others. The exact dollar amount spent on ineligible people is difficultto determine, but a Committee on Finance investigation estimates that at least $790million a year -- and as much as $831 million -- is wasted through just 12 benefitprograms at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Social SecurityAdministration. For example, Social Security’s cash assistance for the needyprogram pays $30 million a year to fugitive felons. The agency’s program for thedisabled pays another $39 million a year to fugitive felons.

Some of these improper payments are due to technical incompatibilities betweenfederal, state and local governments; others result from inadequate system checks.The improper payments to prisoners, fugitives and other ineligible people are just adrop in the bucket of overall improper payments made annually through theDepartment of Health and Human Services ($13.5 billion) and the Social SecurityAdministration ($4 billion).

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, will convene a hearingto examine the extent of improper payments via these programs, whether thosepayments are due to error or fraud, and whether the agencies are taking adequatesteps to stop this squandering of tax dollars.

Witness List
Name to be Announced, Fugitive Felon/Parole Violator who received Social Security paymentswhile a fugitive, Essex County Jail, Newark, N.J.

James G. Huse, Jr., Inspector General, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Md.

Fritz G. Streckewald, Acting Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Office of Disability and IncomeSecurity Programs, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Md.

Dr. Daniel G. Kyle, Ph.D., CPA, CFE, Legislative Auditor, State of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, La.

Michael F. Mangano, Acting Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services,Washington, D.C.

Michael McMullan, Acting Deputy Administrator, Health Care Financing Administration,Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.