From Auditor Beth Wood’s audit of the state treasurer’s office comes the bad news.

“As of December 31, 2012, the Disability Income Plan of North Carolina reported accounts receivable of over $21 million related to cumulative benefit overpayments,” says the Wood audit.

State law leaves it up to the disability recipients themselves to report the extra income. However, Wood recommends the retirement division take the extra step of linking up with the the IRS and SSA to identify the extra money.

In today’s society, where the unsavory goal for some is to take what they can and make someone else pay for it, using the “honor system” is naive and inefficient. Add to the situation what is no doubt a web of benefit paperwork that will challenge the patience of those who seek to play by the rules, and you’ve got a real mess.