A small group of Social Security judges have improperly approved disability claims for nearly 25,000 people who didn’t qualify, costing taxpayers $2 billion over the past seven years, government investigators conclude in a report being released Monday.

Investigators examined cases decided by 44 judges who had been approving disability claims at unusually high rates. The judges represent about 4 percent of the administrative law judges, or ALJs, who decide disability claims for Social Security, the report said.

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