Your Government at Work (Social Security Outrages Division)

Using our taxpayer dollars, the government of the United States is confiscating tax refunds of those whose relatives (often their parents) may have received Social Security overpayments. In cases when parents have gotten the overpayments, the federal government sometimes goes after some surviving children, but not others. From the story:

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy.

And no due process whatsoever is involved:

“It was a shock,” said [Mary] Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”

About the only explanation for the method behind the government’s madness is found here:

Social Security officials told Grice that six people — Grice, her four siblings and her father’s first wife, whom she never knew — had received benefits under her father’s account. The government doesn’t look into exactly who got the overpayment; the policy is to seek compensation from the oldest sibling and work down through the family until the debt is paid.

If you can find anything in this modus operandi to admire, you are far easier to please than I am.