A Bureaucracy of Dunces - Veterans Affairs F**k-Ups

  • Aired:  04/30/14
  •  | Views: 77,933

Fifty years after overpaying death benefits to one man's family, the Social Security Administration tracks down his daughter for payment. (4:03)

LET'S MOVE ON TO THE SOCIALSECURITY ADMINISTRATION WHERE

THE IRS HAS BEEN SOMEWHAT LAX,SOCIAL SECURITY HAS BEEN IF

ANYTHING A LITTLE TOO VIGILANT.

>> SOME TAXPAYERS ALREADYGETTING QUITE A SURPRISE,

MONEY TAKEN OUT OF

THEIR TAX REFUNDS TO PAY DEBTSTHEIR PARENTS OWED.

>> Jon: OH, LIKE RAISING ME TOBE AFRAID TO LOVE WASN'T

PUNISHMENT ENOUGH.

[LAUGHTER]>> Jon: NOW THE GOVERNMENT IS

GOING TO COME AND TAKE MY CARAND I LOVE THAT CAR IN AN

UNCOMPLICATED WAY.

NOW, SOCIAL SECURITY I KNOW YOUARE GOING TO SAY HEY,

THAT WASN'T US. COME ON,PROBABLY SOME OTHER MASSIVE

PUBLIC WELFARE PROGRAM FUNDEDTHROUGH PAYROLL TAXES.

WE HAVE WITNESSES.

>> TWO MONTHS AGO MARY GRICE WASNOTIFIED THAT THE U.S. TREASURY

HAD CONFISCATED HER TAX REFUNDS,STATE AND FEDERAL TOTALING

$4500. THE CLAIMAGAINST HER CAME FROM

THE SOCIAL SECURITYADMINISTRATION WHICH SAID IT

OVERPAID DEATH BENEFITS TOMARY'S FAMILY

AFTER HER FATHER SCOTT GRICEDIED IN 1960.

MARY WAS FIVE YEARS OLD.

>> Jon: OH.

HOW DID FIVE-YEAR-OLD MARY ANDHER GRIEVING MOTHER NOT CATCH

THAT CLERICAL ERROR?

[LAUGHTER]HUNT HER DOWN 50 YEARS LATER AND

MAKE HER PAY.

[ LAUGHTER ]NOW TO BE FAIR THE SOCIAL

SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, THREEDAYS AFTER THE MARY GRICE STORY

BROKE DID EVENTUALLYCHECK THEMSELVES.

>> THE SOCIAL SECURITYADMINISTRATION IS HALTING A

PROGRAM UNDER WHICH THOUSANDS OFPEOPLE HAD THEIR TAX REFUNDS

SEIZED TO PAY OFF OLD DEBTS.

>> Jon: YES, YES NOTHINGBRINGS ABOUT THE RAISING OF

CONSCIOUSNESS LIKE PEOPLEFINDING OUT ABOUT (bleep) YOU

ARE DOING.

[ LAUGHTER ]WHICH BRINGS US TO THE

DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS.

BACKLOG TROUBLES AT THE NATIONALOFFICE ARE WELL KNOWN.

BUT DON'T THINK LOCAL OFFICESCAN'T COMPETE BAD-WISE.

AS MANY AS 40 VETERANS AT THEPHOENIX V.A. MAY HAVE DIED

WAITING FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT.

>> MANAGERS WERE ACTUALLYKEEPING TWO WAITING LISTS.

>> THERE WAS AN UNOFFICIALWAITING LISTS AND VETERANS'

NAMES COULD BE ON IT MONTHS OREVEN YEARS BEFORE THEY WERE

MOVED TO THE OFFICIALAPPOINTMENT LIST.

THE PURPOSE OF THE TWO LISTS WASTO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE THE V.A.

WAS SEEING PATIENTS IN A TIMELYMANNER [AUDIENCE BOOS]

>> Jon: THAT'S NOT GOING TO DOIT.

THESE ARE THE SCREAMING JARS IHAVE FOR DIFFERENT OCCASIONS.

THERE'S ONE HERE FOR WHEN THEMETS LOSE.

IF SPRINGSTEEN IS EVERDECONSTRUCTED, PEOPLE WHO EAT

PIZZA WITH A FORK.

DONALD TRUMP.

HOLD ON A SECOND.

LET ME SEE WHAT I HAVE.

I KNOW MY -- WHERE IS MYVETERANS ADMINISTRATION.

OH, THAT'S RIGHT, I FORGOT.

[ LAUGHTER ][SCREAMING BLEEP BLEEP]

[ APPLAUSE ][LAUGHTER]

>> Jon: YOU KNOW IN A STATIONLIKE THIS YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOME

ACCOUNTABILITY.

WHO IS GOING STEP UP TO THEPLATE HERE?

>> IN AN INTERVIEW THISAFTERNOON THE HEAD OF PHOENIX

V.A. DENIED KNOWING ANYTHINGABOUT ALL THIS.

>> Jon: OH, OK. WELL, CASECLOSED.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE. THIS ISJUST ONE OF THOSE COINCIDENCES.

IS THERE ANYTHINGELSE YOU NEED TO TELL US?

>> CNN HAS OBTAINEDE-MAILS SHOWING TOP MANAGEMENT

INCLUDING PHOENIXV.A. DIRECTOR SHARON

HELMAN KNEW ABOUT THE ACTUALWAIT TIMES, KNEW

ABOUT THE OFF THE BOOKS LIST ANDDEFENDED ITS USE TO HER STAFF.

>> Jon: I'M GOING TO NEED ABIGGER (bleep) JAR.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE][CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

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