Disability fraud more than 100 arrested todayTop congressional leaders have questions for years why disability rolls have grown exponentially over the last decade. Now, its estimated there is close to 11 million beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), including not only workers who are disabled and who cannot work, but some of dependents too. Now, after months of investigation, federal and local disability fraud investigators are scheduled to arrest 106 people today in one of the biggest Social Security Disability fraud schemes in United States history.
According to those close to the investigation, disability fraud has been committed even by a number of former New York fire department and police officials improperly obtained benefits by cheating the application process. By mid-day today, the SSA expects to have dozens of the arrests completed and more will be made over the next several days in over ten states. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is scheduled to issue a statement about the disability fraud investigation today at a 1 p.m. press conference in New York.
Many players in disability fraud cases
Not only is it disappointing that some of the most respected workers in our society have taken advantage of the disability system, disability fraud experts have also identified several people who work within the SSA disability program who helped individuals commit disability fraud. According to reports, the SSA has identified at least four workers who were assigned to assist disability applicants, including a lawyer, a consultant and two recruits, who will be arrested.
Unfortunately, the funds involved in a disability fraud case are not chump change. It costs United States taxpayers millions of dollars to fund the disability program. Thats money that you and I work hours each day and week to generate. How much money did this particular scheme cost us? Federal and local prosecutors claim that this disability fraud scheme cost us $24 million in fraudulent disability payments.
Disability fraud in Puerto Rico
This disability fraud case is not the first. Six months ago more than seventy individuals were arrested in Puerto Rico on disability fraud charges. In this case those arrested included former SSA employees, lawyers and doctors who worked together to defraud the system.
What does it mean to be disabled?
According to the SSA, to qualify for SSDI benefits a worker must have a condition which is so severe they cannot work for at least 12 continuous months. Not being able to find a job is not considered a disability. How do we know these disability applicants were able to work? We dont, but according to one person who was close to the disability fraud case and the alleged suspects, many of them claimed they were "unable to work at any job or leave their homes but had very active lives."
SSDI program requirements must be tightened
Its time for the Federal Government to re-evaluate the SSDI program. There is too much fraud within the program and the program has too many beneficiaries. Congress may not want to do anything yet, but if they dont do anything by 2016 the program will be out of money.
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