Re: NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families
posted at 3/27/2013 3:29 PM EDT
In response to MattyScornD's comment:
There is fraud and abuse in private disability programs, too.
Not to mention so-called "double dipping" which is illegal.
My wife works for a long-term disability insurer...she orders surveillance and busts fraudsters on a regular basis.
Either way, fraud is wrong and should be punished. The question is whether the SSA is adequately equipped to police their rolls and take appropriate action. I don't think they are...not by a long shot.
Private disability insurers have an incentive to find true fraudsters... and there are specific contractual definitions of disability in the sane private sector...
The Nanny State giveaway bureaucracy policing their rolls? Who you kidding? For SS disability, the entire system is a fraud. There is no hard and fast rule as to what disability is, so like most government programs, it is highly encouraged to give it a try...the standards are so loose, everyone is encouraged to get it...and it is not 'fraud' to get a doctor's note that you are disabled...the numbers are skyrocketing.
The entire system is based on squishy soft fraud....the real disabled are highly outnumbered by the new unemployed, who are told to sign on.
Last year, just one law firm, Binder and Binder, made $68.7 million in fees for disability cases.
The way Binder tells it, he's is a guy helping desperate people get the support they deserve. He is a cowboy-hatted Lone Ranger going to court to fight the good fight for the everyman.
Who is making the case for the other side? Who is defending the government's decision to deny disability?
"You might imagine a courtroom where on one side there's the claimant and on the other side there's a government attorney who is saying, 'We need to protect the public interest and your client is not sufficiently deserving,'" the economist David Autor says. "Actually, it doesn't work like that. There is no government lawyer on the other side of the room."
From the NPR article:
"Sonny Ryan, a retired judge in town, didn't hear disability cases in his courtroom. But the subject came up often. He described one exchange he had with a man who was on disability but looked healthy.
"Just out of curiosity, what is your disability?" the judge asked from the bench.
"I have high blood pressure," the man said.
"So do I," the judge said. "What else?"
"I have diabetes."
"So do I."
There's no diagnosis called disability. You don't go to the doctor and the doctor says, "We've run the tests and it looks like you have disability." It's squishy enough that you can end up with one person with high blood pressure who is labeled disabled and another who is not."
A person on welfare costs a state money. That same resident on disability doesn't cost the state a cent, because the federal government covers the entire bill for people on disability. So states can save money by shifting people from welfare to disability. And the Public Consulting Group is glad to help.
PCG is a private company that states pay to comb their welfare rolls and move as many people as possible onto disability. "What we're offering is to work to identify those folks who have the highest likelihood of meeting disability criteria," Pat Coakley, who runs PCG's Social Security Advocacy Management team, told me.
The company has an office in eastern Washington state that's basically a call center, full of headsetted women in cubicles who make calls all day long to potentially disabled Americans, trying to help them discover and document their disabilities:
There's a reason PCG goes to all this trouble. The company gets paid by the state every time it moves someone off of welfare and onto disability. In recent contract negotiations with Missouri, PCG asked for $2,300 per person. For Missouri, that's a deal -- every time someone goes on disability, it means Missouri no longer has to send them cash payments every month. For the nation as a whole, it means one more person added to the disability rolls."
This is insanity, an insult to taxpayers, and a ruination of the work ethic. Why isnt there reform?