Social Security Disability Reform Demanded After Fraud Ring Caught
Posted on Sep 08, 2013
Federal authorities recently arrested 75 people in Puerto Rico and charged them with conning the Social Security disability system out of significant money. Now, many people are using this incident to call for reform in how the government pays out SSDI benefits.
The fraud ring was caught through a sting operation. A former Social Security employee was charged $6,000 to write a fake application, and doctors were charging $500 to write up medical diagnoses. The application would then state that the claimant was too psychiatrically impaired to work. So far, this has led to the arrests of three doctors, one former Social Security employee, and 71 claimants.
The fraud worked when the fake disability claims were accepted. Claimants were then given an initial lump-sump payment that was retroactive to include past benefits and disability checks. The former Social Security employee, Samuel Torres Crespo, would charge 25 percent of the retroactive payments, up to $6,000.
Many people on Capitol Hill were already demanding reform, saying that the system is running out of money because of fraud. Now, this fraud sting is being used to heighten the call for reform on what many consider to be a broken system.
Rep. Sam Johnson (R–Texas), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s panel on Social Security, says that he will call a hearing on the Puerto Rico scam.
At our Massachusetts Social Security Disability law office, we are concerned to hear that without reforms, the Congressional Budget Office has said the Social Security Administration will have to stop paying full benefits in 2016. However, Social Security’s actuary says the insolvency date is actually 2017. The Social Security office also said that their internal checks are helping to weed out these problems.