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NAO Reveals Two Errors In SSHFC Claimant’s Benefits

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Mr. Omar P. Sabally, a Senior Audit Manager, NAO.

By Ramatoulie Jawo

The National Audit Office (NAO) findings on Social Security and Housing Finance Cooperation (SSHFC) revealed two types of errors in computing claimant’s benefits. 

Mr. Omar P. Sabally, a Senior Audit Manager at NAO, told the members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) that their review revealed that social security made two types of errors in computing claimers’ benefits. 

“Our review revealed that Social Security made two types of errors in computing claimers’ benefits. The errors were posting errors and summing errors. Posting errors are errors of the wrong amount entered into the member account. Summing errors are errors of correction,” he disclosed. 

Mr. Sabally said SSHFC’s Computerize System called navigation for maintaining members’ accounts contributed to the posting errors. 

“The system does not ensure data integrity because of data loss. In addition, the system is vulnerable to unintentional changes in member contributions. Because it cannot notify data entry clerks that the month for which a particular contribution is entered is already entered. As a result, it will add up the subsequent entry to the early amount entered for that month. Therefore, Social Security must fully verify each month of a member’s contribution during the processing of the claims to ensure that accurate member accounts are used for benefits computation,” he said 

Mr. Sabally said their review shows that Social Security accounts verification founds that only 24% of the member’s accounts were accurate during the verification. 

“So, it is probable that verification officers will make errors in the verification process. Since it is an entirely manual process,” he said. 

Mr. Sabally stated that summing errors are the responsibility of the benefits processing officer. 

“They should establish the total yearly contribution based on the verified members’ account submitted for benefit computation. The benefit computation was further verified by another officer to reduce the risk of paying an incorrect amount to claimers. The errors led to Social Security paying 11 of the sample claimers representing 46℅ benefits that were short of their entitlement and 10 of the sample claimers 42℅ were paid more than their entitlement,” Mr. Sabally told the Members of PEC. 

Mr Sabally said the underpayment amounted to D29,409. 59. while the overpayment amounted to D39, 170 .05.

Mr. Sabally added that the total incorrect payments accounted for 1.57℅ of the total benefit paid to 24 sample claimers, and the individual incorrect payment ranged from 0. 04 ℅ to 46.7℅ of the claimers received. 

“So, we recommended that Social Security should develop a system where member accounts are accurate at any point in time. This will ensure that vigorous and full account verification is not needed during claim processing. The benefits unit should strengthen computation verification regarding yearly contribution before signing the benefits computation report,” he recommended. 

Mr. Sabally made these remarks at the presentation and consideration of the SSHFC Performance Audit Report on the Management of Social Security Funds.

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