According to a Washington Post report, an anti-fraud Social Security program under the Trump administration imposed large fines on people with disabilities and seniors who received disability payments to whom they were not entitled.
The fines, which were imposed on more than 100 poor, disabled and elderly people, reached hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The program was overseen by Gail Ennis, Inspector General of the Social Security Administration. Kilolo Kijakazi, the acting commissioner of Social Security, will begin a full investigation into Ennis’ oversight of the Civil Monetary Penalty Program, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Ennis rejected a request for an interview, the Post reported, but wrote in a statement that his office “was unaware of any basis to support the statement that unprecedented fines have been imposed.”
Citing interviews, documents and affidavits before an administrative law judge, the Post reported that the Inspector General’s office did not take into account “the financial status of the recipients, their age, their intentions and the level of remorse, among other factors … The staff lawyers were directed to charge those affected up to twice the money they had received in error, in addition to the fines “.
Two senior employees who repeatedly talked about the fees to Ennis and his staff “abruptly put themselves on administrative leave,” the Post said. One was fired and the other demoted.
In the Post article, the White House said it was aware of the report, but had no immediate comment, and a Senate Finance Committee spokesman told the Post that it was “evaluating a number of steps. “.