A Closer Look at Alleged Social Security Disability Fraud

Aside from the budget crisis facing the Social Security program next year, one of the recurring themes is that many beneficiaries currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are basically gaming the system and collecting a check when they really could be working. This criticism is often made along with assertions that Congress should not fix the 20 percent budget hit facing the program late in 2016.

1088940_2_annual_reports__3According to a recent news feature from The Economist Populist, statistics show that 99.8 percent of ally Social Security disability payments were free from any possibility of overpayment. In other words, even at the highest estimates of money from the Social Security disability benefits funds being paid out to claimants who should not be receiving benefits, this would account for only 0.065 percent of the annual budget for this disability program. This is such a small percentage, that even if the number was truly this high, and it is quite possible it is not, those speaking about people gaming the system are really making a lot of noise about what is not even a statistically significant problem.

As our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits attorneys can explain, the vast majority of all claimants to the program are truly entitled to receive benefits because they are disabled. The reason we know this is because it is not easy to get benefits. This is especially true of those who are applying without the assistance of an experienced Social Security disability attorney.

In reality, most people who apply for disability benefits have their applications denied as a matter of course. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which is the federal agency that oversees the program, would never admit it is their policy to deny applicants without regard to whether the claimant is really disabled; the mere fact that more than half of all applications are rejected without giving a valid reason is evidence that at the very least, it is an unspoken policy to deny most applications.

Looking further into this money that is allegedly paid out to claimants who are not entitled to benefits, the SSA has a program in place to go after those who should not be receiving benefits, and the agency works to recover any money considered an overpayment. While it may seem like it would be difficult to recover the money, when people are threatened with criminal fraud charges, if they do not set up a payment plan to return the money, most people are willing to find the money to repay any undue benefits. To this end, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for SSA has released a report that around half of the money claimed to be over-payments was recuperated by the agency. In other words, we are not dealing with what is essentially a drop in the bucket that is the agency’s annual budget—we are really only talking about half of that drop.

However, with the upcoming nomination for presidential candidates, it is unlikely we will see any shortage of claims of overpayment of disability benefits in the near future.

If you are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

0.065% of Annual Budget Lost to Disability Over-Payments, June 29, 2015, The Economic Populist

More Blog Entries:
Hanson v. Colvin: A Critical Look by a Court of Appeals on a Denial of Benefits, August 14, 2014, Boston Disability Lawyers Blog.

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