The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced a new fraud prevention program. This is likely in response to several claims of fraud in this government program. The 106 fraud indictments of the retired police and firefighters in New York for fraud of the Social
Security Administration (click Here for the story), the alleged collusion of a Kentucky attorney, Eric Conn, and an administrative law judge (click Here for the story), and the report of alleged widespread fraud by several news agencies, including “60 Minutes”, likely led the SSA to start this program.
All of these incidents harm the people who truly need these benefits. Many Americans depend on these checks because they are disabled. It is good to weed out fraudulent activity in any program, but the backlash usually harms others who legitimately obtained and receive their benefits. As an attorney representing clients for these claims, I can see a change in the activities and attitudes of the people in the SSA.
I have heard claims for years from various clients that they knew someone who was getting benefits, but was on drugs or clearly not disabled. Maybe they are right. But, it reminds me of the commercial about veterans. Several veterans are shown with injuries that led to amputations, but then a vet says you cannot see my injuries. He is talking about PTSD or other mental health issues as a result of combat or other experiences. This is true with SSA claimants as well. Some have physical issues, while others have severe mental limitations. Many have both. Many people with chronic pain develop depression.
It is not always easy to see the disabilities. And just because someone is seen performing some activity does not mean they can sustain the activity on a full-time basis for work. I am not defending those who make up injuries, illnesses or conditions just to get benefits. But when fraud is uncovered, suddenly the net is cast everywhere. Suddenly, every claimant is faking. This just hurts those who really need the benefits; parents with children with autism, or other conditions, people with major depression, etc. Caution is needed in reviewing cases.