Senator Tom Coburn: We Are Engaging in Disability Fraud

The Republican Senator’s testimony should surprise no one. It has been obvious for years that we are experiencing widespread disability fraud. The government has been happy to look the other way while people claim to be disabled.

According to CNS News:

 “Something has to change in terms of the enforcement of our laws and the rule of law if, in fact, we’re going to change the Social Security system,” Coburn said. “We keep putting people on disability who are not truly disabled and you send a postcard saying, ‘Are you still disabled?’ They are going to answer, yes. So it’s not going to do anything. So I agree that we should fund it but we need major changes.”

According to the Oversight Committee Report, when an individual applies for disability benefits, initially their case is examined by a State Disability Determination Service (DDS) office. If they are denied benefits after this, in most states, they can appeal to a different reviewer in the same office. If their case is denied again, then they can appeal to a Social Security Administrative Law Judge, otherwise known as an ALJ.

“Remember when someone comes to an ALJ, they’ve been turned down twice by people very knowledgeable in the system,” said Senator Coburn.  “Two separate Social Security employees that look at either the grid or the medical history, looked at the long requirements and had said no. The key thing we need is that input since the judges routinely won’t read their input into the trial hearing, into the disability determination.”

“Once individuals are enrolled in a federal disability program, they almost never go back to work. Less than one percent of those who were on SSDI at the beginning of 2011 have returned to the workforce,” the Oversight Committee report stated.  “Instead of managing a meaningful Federal adjudication program, SSA management has substituted a factory-type production process.”

It seems that anyone who wants to game the system is able to do so. This is part of the reason we have more people dropping out of the labor force. The number of people working shrinks and the number of people living off the government expands.

Obviously, we are headed toward disaster.