Disability Fraud costs Taxpayers Billions
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is investigating Social Security Disability fraud. In August, OIG placed 75 people under arrest in Puerto Rico, as part of a joint operation with the FBI and the Puerto Rico Police Department. Soon after, a report on “60 Minutes” had Senator Coburn crying foul. Again, the spotlight was on Stanville, KY. Much attention is being focused on concerns with disability fraud – which could be costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Each person that defrauds the system is taking money from those who are truly disabled. Social Security Disability is not a substitute for Unemployment payments, nor is it a last-ditch effort to avoid having to work. SSDI is, however, established to take care of our most needy citizens – those who are unable, due to physical or mental impairment – to support themselves.
Attorney Eric Christopher Conn has allegedly been scamming the system for years. In 2010 alone, he was paid nearly $4 million in legal fees from the Social Security Administration, earning him the number 3 spot on the SSA’s roster of highest paid disability lawyers. The Wall Street Journal first brought Conn’s relationship with then-ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) David B. Daugherty. Daugherty has since resigned. Daugherty, from SSA’s regional office in Huntington, WV office, approved more SSDI cases than almost all of the SSA’s 1,500 other judges. He approved more than $2.5 billion in lifetime federal benefits. For more on the alleged Conn/Daugherty scam, visit The Fiscal Times.
In August, 2013, 75 people were arrested in Puerto Rico on charges of a large-scale disability fraud. It charges that several downsized employees visited a common doctor and that the medical records submitted were nearly identical for all SSDI applicants.
Dr. Robert Velasquez allegedly produced fraudulent diagnoses and medical reports for Iraqi refugees at $200 each. In August, 2011, Dr. Velasquez pled “guilty” to charges of making false statements in benefit application and immigration documents. His sentence, delivered in May of 2013, was for 21 months in prison, 2 years of probation and restitution of $1.5 million to the Social Security Administration.
How You Can Help
If you see something wrong, speak up. Contact the SSA’s OIG Fraud Hotline online or by calling (800) 269-0271.
Some of the rise in SSD claims comes from the aging Baby Boomer population. As this large segment of the population ages, it will continue to test the limits of our society’s systems of protection including Social Security and Medicare.
If you have a legitimate claim for Social Security Disability Insurance under Social Security Disability terms, complete the SSD application process. Get an advocate to help you file your claim as claims are much more likely to be approved if you have help filing. Choose ethical representation rather than the “ambulance-chasing” attorneys working only to serve as many clients as possible. Choose a reputable firm that will help you get the help you need and deserve.