(WASHINGTONTIMES) — The federal government has overpaid billions of dollars in benefits to people who have been ruled disabled and impoverished, often because they understated their income. Debt because of overpayments has doubled over the past decade to $7.3 billion, according to a new government report.

And data reviewed by The Washington Times showed that the Social Security Administration (SSA) conducted fewer reassessments of claimants’ financial situations — which can detect such issues — last year than it did in every year prior to 2006, even as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) rolls swelled from 5.8 million that year to 6.9 million.

In 2010 alone, the program paid out $40 billion and overpayments exceeded $3.3 billion. The government collected on less than half the new debts it detected that year.

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