Could Outdated Social Security Disability Systems Lead to Fraud?
The Social Security disability program just celebrated its 79th birthday in August. As more politicians, government officials, and citizens speculate about the future of this system, one major concern remains at the forefront: fraud.
Fraudulent Claims in Social Security Disability
The Inspector General concluded in a report a few weeks ago that the Social Security disability approval and payment system is outdated. In fact, the system is so outdated that it makes it very difficult to weed out fraudulent claims.
In the report, the Inspector General determined the following:
- Handwritten records could not be screened electronically. This made it difficult to spot doctors who were approving large numbers of applications.
- Handwritten records make it difficult to find overpayments. That means that the system does not automatically cancel erroneous claims.
- The systems are not integrated, making it difficult to prevent or easily identify widespread fraud.
Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) has dismissed the idea that there is a significant amount of fraud among disability recipients, the Inspector General’s findings show how easily it can occur. Now, the Inspector General claims that the agency has turned a blind eye to the issue.
The Inspector General isn’t the only one concerned. Texas Republican Rep. Sam Johnson has been outspoken on this issue. He claims that if the agency had an automated system in place, the majority of recent fraud rings could have been prevented.
Outdated Social Security Disability Systems Hurt Applicants
As Social Security disability lawyers in New England, we see the direct impact the outdated systems have on applicants. By relying on handwritten applications and documentation, the system is slow and ineffective. In addition, by not doing more to prevent fraudulent claims, the wrong people are receiving benefits. The people who need benefits the most are left to wait months or years to be approved and start receiving the money they need.
With so many threats to the depletion of Social Security disability funds, it is our hope that the SSA will soon find an alternative solution to minimize fraud and maximize efficiency.
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