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Millions Reported Lost in Social Security Scams

May 02, 2000|Associated Press

Social Security recipients who get help managing their benefits may be targets for con artists. The Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General says it has uncovered scams by designated intermediaries--known as representative payees--who have robbed beneficiaries of $7.5 million since October 1997. The agency estimates that $3 million of the $30 billion in Social Security benefits disbursed through representative payees each year are misused. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, has scheduled a hearing on the problems today. About 6.5 million Americans who get Social Security or Supplemental Security Income have a representative payee, usually a family member or friend, who receives their check and manages their money. Most of these beneficiaries are deemed incompetent to handle their own financial affairs.

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