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Social Security sweats bullets

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

The Social Security retirement topic burning up the Internet today is a "Request for Quote" on the FedBizOpps.gov website, where the U.S. government posts opportunities for the private industry to do business with it.

The fuss is about a July request from the Social Security Administration to purchase 174,000 ".357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point pistol ammunition."

That's a lot of bullets -- and it has every conspiracy theorist with a keyboard speculating that Social Security offices are gearing up to gun down senior citizens who storm the doors after Social Security puts them on hold for 30 minutes.

The Sturm und Drang has been so emotional that the administration felt compelled to post a defense on its new consumer blog, headlined "Social Security's OIG responds to concerns over ammunition procurement."

In government speak, OIG stands for Office of the Inspector General. In its initial explanation of the RFQ on Aug. 13, Social Security said:

In 2010, a 66-year-old man with a shotgun entered the Federal Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas and opened fire in the crowded lobby, killing two people and injuring another. His fury was with SSA and the loss of his California state supplement of $317 per month when he moved to Nevada. He had sued the agency and lost.

The post went on to explain the SSA offices were getting a lot of traffic due to increased disability claims, and a corresponding increase in threats against SSA employees. Altogether SSA received 1,033 allegations pertaining to employee safety.

That post just fueled the fire. So, three days later on Aug. 16, Social Security posted:

We have criminal investigators -- aka special agents -- who are responsible for investigating violations of the laws that govern Social Security's programs. Currently, about 230 special agents work in 66 offices across the United States. Just like FBI or NCIS agents, our investigators have full law enforcement authority, including executing search warrants and making arrests. Our special agents need to be armed and trained appropriately. They not only investigate allegations of Social Security fraud, but they also are called to respond to threats against Social Security offices, employees, and customers.

Finally, on Aug. 31, the SSA -- still obviously feeling falsely accused -- posted:

Some comments and media reports suggest a degree of skepticism about the role of an OIG Special Agent, and we thought we'd address that here, as part of this dialogue. Several comments, and even Jay Leno's monologue, mentioned investigating seniors, and the limited danger that might present. The point is well-taken, but off the mark. Only about 15 percent of our investigations involve SSA's retirement programs, while almost 80 percent involve the disability programs. People who defraud these programs come in all ages, and none of them wants to be arrested.

I don't think Social Security's gotten this right yet. I'm waiting for the next explanation. In the meantime, none of this is making me feel like my retirement planning is any more secure.

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15 Comments
R. Young
November 03, 2012 at 11:41 pm

All Federal Agencies and their employees must be armed the world is a very dangerous place and they must be able to protect themselves from all of the non federal employees=We the People!

carol
November 03, 2012 at 12:49 am

I thought social security was for people who worked and paid into it?????? Today anyone can go sign up and get a check. It's not fair to those who has worked and payed into s.s. If you have a medical reason fine but why give it to people cause they are too lazy to work. My cousin passed away in 2010 and could not collect on his s.s for two years after he passed and now his wife coiiects his s.s which is fine she works also but i know people that abuse the system in missouri and have done it for years. It is time to STOP them. My husband (we are seperated ) got on s.s.i and has never paid a dime to s.s. so oooo my QUESTION IS WHY not make him work a tax paying job for his check???? Almost all of his family are recieving checks and has never worked.what is wrong with this picture???? I know a man who can not read or write and gets over $1.000 a month but can drive and junk and work for cash. The people who really needs s.s. are the ones that suffer. I agree with the drud testing and yes they should spy on people too many draw s.s / s.s.i / food stamps cause they know how to beat the system. This has gone on way too long it's time to stop the abuse. make people work for what they get and stop handing out FREE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!! The immigrants are costing us as well all of this needs too stop. NO wonder we are debt.

james kerwin
November 02, 2012 at 10:13 am

Hurray for Obama--He'll kill off all the disgruntled Senior Citzens and save SS and Medicare. Win win win. Is he the smartest ever president. Let us all Rock and Roll with our superb president. I don't believe all that stuff about him not being an American. So He lived in a foreign Muslim land and his daddy (maybe) was a Muslim from Africa. And he went to foreign schools.
Buying "dum dum" (hollow point) bullets to be used against Americans is a bit over the top, but effective in reducing the Senior population.

Jeanie
November 01, 2012 at 9:09 pm

And let us not forget the many illegals here who are collecting welfare for their " qualifying" children who were born here. And WIC benefits, and some even find a U.S. citizen who will accept their childs SS check for them and cash it and keep some of it and give them the rest of it. There is NOTHING wrong with their child but they convince the liberal teachers the child is " hyperactive" and they fill out the papers and voila! The minor child is on SSI and their parents are here ILLEGALLY working under the table. Several or more adults working in one household only claiming part of one adults income. They are also draining our charities at Christmas time, all such Holidays and getting hundreds of dollars 3 or 4 times per year for utilities help at local Charities are funded by your tax dollars. Citizens who are eligible are being turned away from such agencies stating there funds are gone. Yes, but on illegal criminals living here illegally. Taking away from Legal Citizens who have worked here and now are low income or unemployed. They need the help and are NOT getting it. We need a change we can believe in. Prove you are here legally, or have worked here contributing or get out of the line.

Jeanie
November 01, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I have met at least 3 women who SELL their food stamps monies for half of their real worth. Half Price! They want the cash to buy drugs, ciggs and gas, diapers, household products they " need". What?! And they have no problem finding people who buy from them. This is fraud and criminal and their children do need to eat as well. But ex's and boyfriends give them money, they are Most of them, working under the table selling drugs, one is a prostitute to support her drug habit and one is well making money under the table . 2 of them are Russian immigrants who have been here the last 5-6 years . How come those new to this country who hold green cards, know how to work or welfare system? Robbing us for much needed monies for those who are truly disabled and cannot work or elderly or in school who have lost a supporting parent. In my opinion, all welfare/ food stamp recipients should be randomly drug tested. NO forewarning. They should also spy on the people collecting SS funds to see what they are able to do in their spare time. So much waste and fraud.. Needs to be dealt with and not have SS look the other way and pretend it is not happening.