By: Antonio Bruni
Make no mistake about it, there is currently a War on the Disabled going on in America. Media, politicians, and general public perception are all fighting a war against America’s most vulnerable citizens – the underemployed, underinsured, and sick. Attacks come from reputable media sources like CBS’ 60 Minutes and The Wall Street Journal and have titles like “Disability USA” and “Grand Theft Disability”. Much has been made recently about an attorney in Kentucky inappropriately obtaining benefits for his clients with the help of an unscrupulous judge and questionable medical professionals. Just this month, as many as 102 police officers and firemen, who allegedly claimed disability benefits to which they were not entitled, have been indicted in New York.
To argue that fraud does not exist in the Social Security disability system would be naïve. There are currently almost 12 million people receiving disability benefits in the United States. To believe that not one of those 12 million people fraudulently obtained benefits is to ignore the truth about human nature. However, to argue that the Social Security disability system is a “national scandal” would also be intellectually dishonest.
The simple truth is that the Social Security Disability system worked exactly as designed. While the claimant’s may have fraudulently obtained benefits, their ruse was eventually found out and criminal prosecutions have ensued. The answer is not to defund Social Security or to make disability benefits more difficult to obtain but instead to better fund those seeking to root out fraud in the system.
Rooting out fraud in the system begins with reputable attorneys evaluating the merits of the case and only accepting those cases which are legitimate claims for benefits. It is the job of the Disability Determination Service, and the administrative law judges that hear the cases, to further evaluate claims for disability benefits to ensure that people who are entitled to the benefits received the benefits. Finally, it is the job of the Social Security Administration to review accepted Social Security disability claims to ensure improvements in condition have not been made that would justify suspending benefits and returning the claimant to the workforce. It is in everyone’s best interest that fraud be found and stamped out to ensure the individuals who truly need disability benefits are able to seek those benefits without facing the public perception that everyone on disability is a fraudster and without having to bear the brunt of political and media criticism of the safety net which was funded by taxes taken out of every check they ever earned.
The Social Security Disability Department at Michles & Booth, PA takes allegations of fraud very seriously and challenges anyone who believes they have information related to Social Security disability fraud to report that fraud to the appropriate authorities. We will personally provide you with the contact information to report suspected fraud should you wish for assistance in doing so. This is the commitment of Michles & Booth, PA and is in the best interest of our community and society as a whole.