Nine people in and around the Seattle, WA area have been indicted on charges that they fraudulently obtained Social Security payments. Among the group’s tactics have been filing claims for apparently non-existent mental health issues and receiving benefits under fake identities. The total bill to the American taxpayers was in excess of $700,000.
It used to be that if you wanted to get information, particularly information regarding government programs, you likely had to drive to the nearest branch office (which was likely not near enough to be convenient), wait in line, and ask several different people the same question (usually phrased a number of different ways) before you got anything that even remotely resembled assistance. And if the information you needed was to be delivered via a seminar, it meant that you had to carve time out of your schedule.Thankfully, those days are gone.
A little more than four years ago, the Social Security Administration (SSA) embarked on a mission to reduce the ever-increasing backlog of cases waiting to be heard on appeal. A newly-released study calls into question claims of success in this endeavor made by the SSA.
Effective June 1, 2011, the office in Great Falls, MT which has been used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for hearings has been closed. The closure means that people in the area who have filed an appeal for a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case will now have to travel to other locations.
Until about a decade ago, most of us knew little about how much money we had contributed to the Social Security Administration (SSA). While our check stubs usually provided year-to-date totals, and our W-2 forms gave us the total amount for the entire calendar year, determining our lifetime contributions to the fund would have required detailed, long-term record keeping.
A Perham, Minnesota man has been charged with fraudulently receiving Social Security Disability benefits. Wayne A. Larson, age 54, had begun receiving benefits in June of 1995. However, Larson returned to work in the construction field in August of 2005 and failed to report this fact to the Social Security Administration (SSA). As a result, he wrongfully received over $24,000 in benefits from the SSA. He could be sentenced to 10 years in prison or a fine or both for each count he faces.
For reasons that are not completely clear, the number of Americans who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits due to mental illness has increased significantly over the last quarter-century or so. In 1987, 1 in 184 people qualified for benefits; by 2007, that number had increased to 1 in 76, an increase of 284%.
According to a U.S. Government investigator, the Social Security Administration (SSA) paid out $6.5 billion in 2009 to people who were not rightfully entitled to those funds. Roughly two thirds of that were under a program which aims to help the most financially disadvantaged among us. In most cases, these overpayments were because the recipients had income or other assets that were unreported or under-reported. In simpler terms, this really means that the funds were obtained under fraudulent circumstances.
Lawmakers who are part of the legislative subcommittee which oversees Social Security are asking for an investigation into the procedure by which disability payments are authorized. At the center of the controversy is an administrative law judge from Huntington, West Virginia named David B. Daugherty, who in fiscal year 2010 awarded benefits to a whopping 99.7% of the claimants on his case load.