NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families

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    NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/03/26/Media-Matters-Attacks-NPR-For-Disability-Program-Expos

    Even perilously liberal NPR took a look at the looming disaster of SS disability programs...

    So: What will be done with the SS disability program, which will go broke by 2016? Nothing....Democrats need votes, dammit.

    How can Dems resist a program that incentivizes a lifetime of dependency, and has parents making sure their kids fail, in order to keep a government check...reform? The Dems are the real "Party of No"...no reform....

    Featured on NPR, journalist Chana Joffe-Walt's six-month investigation into America’s disability program found a record-high 14 million Americans receiving disability checks in a system rife with fraud and dependency-inducing abuse that costs taxpayers $260 billion a year—more than food stamps and welfare combined.

    “Since the economy began its slow, slow recovery in late 2009, we’ve been averaging about 150,000 jobs created per month,” said Joffe-Walt in an Public Radio International (PRI) “This American Life” interview. “In that same period every month, almost 250,000 people have been applying for disability.”

    Applications for disability rise and fall with the unemployment rate....

    In some parts of the country, such as Hale County, Alabama, one out of every four working-age adults collects a disability check...

    • As of 2011, 33.8% of newly diagnosed disabled workers cited “back pain and other musculoskeletal problems” as their reason for being unable to work.  In 1961, the top reason for being disabled was “heart disease, stroke”
    • Disabled workers do not get counted in the unemployment figures. If they did, the numbers would be far higher.
    • Less than 1% of people who went on disability at the beginning of 2011 have returned to the workforce
    • The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program—which covers kids and adults—has exploded.  SSI is now seven times larger than it was 30 years ago.

     

    “That’s a kind of ugly secret of the American labor market,” said MIT economist David Autor.  “Part of the reason our unemployment rates have been low, until recently, is that a lot of people who would have trouble finding jobs are on a different program.” 

     

    Joffe-Walt says disability has “become a de facto welfare program for people without a lot of education or job skills.” The reporter notes that the disability program “wasn’t supposed to serve this purpose; it’s not a retraining program designed to get people back onto their feet.”

    People who leave the workforce and go on disability qualify for Medicare, the government health care program that also covers the elderly. They also get disability payments from the government of about $13,000 a year. This isn't great. But if your alternative is a minimum wage job that will pay you at most $15,000 a year, and probably does not include health insurance, disability may be a better option.

    But going on disability means you will not work, you will not get a raise, you will not get whatever meaning people get from work. Going on disability means, assuming you rely only on those disability payments, you will be poor for the rest of your life. That's the deal. And it's a deal 14 million Americans have signed up for.

    According to Social Security chief actuary Steve Goss, disability insurance program reserves will run out of money in 2016.

    http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/?wpisrc=nl_wonk

     

     
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    Re: NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families

    NPR:

    "I haven't taken a survey or anything, but I'm guessing a large majority of Americans would be in favor of some form of government support for disabled children living in poverty. We would have a hard time agreeing on exactly how we want to offer support, but I think there are some basic things we'd all agree on.

    Kids should be encouraged to go to school. Kids should want to do well in school. Parents should want their kids to do well in school. Kids should be confident their parents can provide for them regardless of how they do in school. Kids should become more and more independent as they grow older and hopefully be able to support themselves at around age 18.

    The disability program stands in opposition to every one of these aims."

     
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    Re: NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families

    "America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system..."

    Thanks, liberals!

     
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    Re: NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families

    In response to Newtster's comment:

     

    Read it and weep, or rejoice if you are a liberal:

     

    In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year   Tyler Durden's picture Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/22/2010 00:18 -0400

     

    Tonight's stunning financial piece de resistance comes from Wyatt Emerich of The Cleveland Current. In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan that it was the USSR that was the "Evil Empire", Emmerich analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion that "a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year." And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability checks. America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system. Not surprisingly, it is not only the richest and most audacious thieves that prosper - it is also the penny scammers at the very bottom of the economic ladder that rip off the middle class each and every day, courtesy of the world's most generous entitlement system. Perhaps if Reagan were alive today, he would wish to modify the object of his once legendary remark.

    From Emmerich:

    You can do as well working one week a month at minimum wage as you can working $60,000-a-year, full-time, high-stress job.

    My chart tells the story. It is pretty much self-explanatory.

     

     

     

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/entitlement-america-head-household-making-minimum-wage-has-more-disposable-income-family-mak

     

     

     And they do not even count CRAZY CHECKS!

     




     

    This is absurd.  Visit a middle class neighborhood, then visit the projects and you will quickly determine which lifestyle is preferable.  Articles like this are just meant to pit the middle class against the working poor, when its actions of the top earners that are ripping them off. 

    And how many minimum wage employers do you figure are out there that just allow their employees to work one week a month to accomodate this type of scamming?

    Whose brown hole did he pull that $16,500 Medicaid benefit come from?  And is the $60k family receiving an employer supplied health plan or are we supposed to just ignore that glaring omission in his calculation?

     
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    Re: NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families

    Define "riddled".

    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.

     

     
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    Re: NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

    Define "riddled".

    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?

    Nobody.

    "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?

     
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    Re: NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families

    In response to ComingLiberalCrackup's comment:

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

     

    Define "riddled".

    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...

     



    That's true, but that doesn't mean they find everyone or that people don't get away with it. They do.  And some companies choose to settle problematic long-term cases...at the expense of the bottom line.

    Some people die without ever getting a cent of their due benefit.

    I worked myself with a group that legally recovered over-payments from undeserving or uncertified recipients, so I know this area pretty well.  Many regulations are handed down at the state level and every one is different.

    Your raging ideology aside...

    ...I'm wondering what the true numbers are.  Some of these people are genuinely disabled and unable to work.

    And your assertion that the govt isn't interested in rooting out fraud makes no sense.

    The crooked doctors signing off on evaluations also should bear some responsibility.

     

     
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    Re: NPR: Train wreck SS Disability program is riddled with fraud and abuse that hurts children and families

    There are now 8.8 million workers receiving disability payments from Social Security. I find this number haunting.

    The disabled are part of the far larger number of Americans who have left the labor force altogether since the recession, and who don’t seem to be coming back. About 88.9 million people in the U.S. are now out of the labor force, 2.4 million more than a year ago and 11.4 million more than in 2006. Thirty years ago, there was a 40-to-1 ratio between the total labor force and those workers receiving Social Security disability payments. Today that ratio is less than 18-to-1.

    In November 1982, unemployment hit its postwar high of 10.8 percent, far higher than the current rate of 7.7 percent. But the total share of workers who are either unemployed or receiving disability payments from the government totals 12.6 percent today.

    Puzzling Rise

    The steady rise in disability claims presents something of a puzzle. Medicine has improved substantially. Far fewer of us labor in dangerous industrial jobs like the ones that originally motivated disability insurance. The rate of deaths due to injuries has plummeted. Behavior that can cause disability, such as alcohol use and smoking, has declined substantially. American age-adjusted mortality rates are far lower than in the past.

    The aging of the baby-boom generation is often cited as one explanation for the rise in disability insurance rolls. Yet the economists Mark Duggan and Scott Imberman estimate that “this factor can explain just 15.5 percent of the growth in the likelihood that a nonelderly adult male receives DI benefits.”

    The two primary alternative hypotheses for the rise are that either work has become less attractive or that disability insurance has become more attractive and available. The disability-claims approval process and the wider society itself have become more accepting of people receiving the benefits even if they have no visible ailment.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-27/2013-is-the-year-to-go-to-work-not-go-on-disability.html

     
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