Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued a "Special Report" on The Social Security Administration's Ability to Prevent and Detect Disability Fraud. There are some small bits of news in the "Special Report" but it's mostly a stale rehashing of old news in an attempt to placate Congressional Republicans who want proof that fraud is rampant in Social Security's disability programs. Three isolated instances of alleged small scale schemes to defraud Social Security do not constitute proof of rampant fraud. It's merely a sign that there are stupid people who make the mistake of thinking that it's easy to defraud Social Security.
Anyway, here's the few nuggets of news that I found in this "Special Report":
- "The Acting Commissioner and others have consistently and inaccurately cited a 2006 OIG report as the “best-available evidence” that the rate of fraud in the disability program is less than one-tenth of one percent. We are currently updating that 2006 report, and expect that our findings will give us more insight into fraud and abuse in the disability programs." Later in the report, OIG says, basically, that even though there's a report they issued some years ago that can be interpreted in the way that the Acting Commissioner interpreted it that she shouldn't have because maybe there are some overpaid claimants that OIG doesn't want to prosecute but who OIG still wants to label as fraudsters. Is it reasonable to call something fraud if you're not willing to prosecute it as fraud?
- "The Agency’s dated systems, combined with the diverse and unintegrated systems of 54 DDSs, provide little protection against the cookie - cutter approach to large - scale DI fraud conspiracies such as those in New York and Puerto Rico, where only vigilant DDS analysts were finally able to detect signs of a scheme after millions of dollars were paid to fraudulent beneficiaries."
- "This year, SSA began an initiative to develop predictive analytics to detect disability fraud."
- "SSA is currently working with three vendors: Northrup Grumman and SaS on the use of the predictative analytics tool, and Accenture regarding a joint anti-fraud unit."
- OIG has noticed that scanned images of documents don't contain searchable fields, meaning it's impossible to turn the powerful software that Northrup Grumman and SAS wants to sell the agency loose on all those scanned documents so why is the agency considering buying the software? That means that humans, who are actually pretty good at noticing patterns, will probably have to be the ones noticing the patterns.
- OIG wants "a comprehensive tracking and review process for all claimant representatives."
- "SSA is currently working with the Disability Researth Consortium and the Library of Congress in a literature review to look at how other disability systems factor in age, education and work history. The agency intends to update the vocational grids, used to establish disability and to identify other work that a claimant could perform."
- "In FY 2007, 19.6 percent of ALJs allowed more than 85 percent of their cases; in FY 2013, that percentage dropped to 2.9% of ALJs ..." What does this have to do with fraud? Also, did the percent of ALJs denying a huge percentage of the cases they heard go down in a similar way?