Mar 31, 2014

Special Fraud Prevention Unit

     A press release from Social Security:
Today, Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced the establishment of a centralized fraud prevention unit in New York City to identify potential fraud and detect fraud trends that can be applied to disability cases nationwide.  This unit consists of experienced disability examiners who are currently involved in the re-review of disability medical decisions resulting from recent indictments in Puerto Rico and New York City.  Using their specialized experience, they will collaborate with Social Security systems personnel to help build data analytics to detect and prevent fraud at the earliest possible point in the disability decision-making process.
“Social Security strives to preserve the public’s trust in our programs and we have no tolerance for fraud.  We are aggressive in our efforts to detect and prevent fraud,” said Acting Commissioner Colvin, noting that Social Security’s anti-fraud approach has resulted in a fraud incidence rate that is a fraction of one percent.  “The employees in our anti-fraud unit will be our national experts, and we plan to compile data from their work to help us develop further analytical tools to find potential fraud.” 
This first-of-its-kind unit will start with 20 disability examiners at the Addabbo Federal Building in Jamaica, New York.  Based on the trends found in the Puerto Rico and New York cases, along with further analysis of doctors’ reports, the unit will use their findings to help create the systems and data analytics that Social Security will use for disability applications nationwide.  As these systems develop and begin to identify new cases of potential fraud, the New York fraud prevention unit will analyze those cases to prevent fraud from happening before the agency makes a disability decision and authorizes payments.
Acting Commissioner Colvin added, “To those who would try to cheat us: We will find you; we will prosecute you; we will seek the maximum punishment allowable under the law; and we will fight to recover any money you’ve stolen from the American people.”


Anonymous said...

Geesh, sounds like Obama with the Benghazi threat... Much ado about nothing as usual. Lip service to a giant problem they really don't want to and can't handle..

Anonymous said...

They just put out a hiring announcement a week ago for 20 disability examiners in Jamaica. Coincidence ... ?

Anonymous said...

"zero tolerance for fraud"----whatever.

Anonymous said...

"To those who would try to cheat us...we will fight to recover any money you’ve stolen from the American people.”

Right! We'll recover it at a rate of $20 per month.

Anonymous said...

EDITORIAL: The Social Security disability con

Feds must pay closer attention to crooks and schemers

Washington Times, Monday, March 31, 2014

Swindlers are drawn to big government like flies on watermelon, honey and other sweets. Bureaucrats hold a bottomless purse, and they’re not particular about what happens to the cash within. It is, after all, someone else’s money.

James W. Smith of Hermantown, Minn., was until recently one of America’s most eloquent voices for awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. In his mid-40s, he claimed to be battling early onset of the debilitating and feared disease. He organized candlelight vigils and spoke with lawmakers to generate contributions and support for those suffering with the disease. He was hailed a hero.

Eventually, his symptoms appeared to worsen, and his activism waned. Mr. Smith struggled to answer simple questions, and he couldn’t maintain personal hygiene or drive himself. Or so he said.

The facts were that Mr. Smith, an information technology supervisor for the state of Minnesota, never had dementia. He was lying, putting on a good show to pocket $6,773 a month in Social Security disability payments.

He left his wife and began living large on the money he had accumulated. By the time Social Security workers caught onto the con, he had managed to dupe taxpayers of $144,293 between 2006 and 2010.

Last year, Mr. Smith pleaded guilty to stealing government funds and awaits sentencing.

For every person like James W. Smith, caught ripping off the Social Security disability program, hundreds get away. The National Bureau of Economic Research finds that disability payments and services are worth more than $300,000 over a recipient’s lifetime.

According to Our Generation, a good-government group leading the charge for reform of the Social Security Disability Insurance system, more than half of the new Social Security disability claims are based on mental or musculoskeletal disorders.

Such claims are easy to fake, difficult to diagnose and hard to disprove, creating an easy opening for shysters, schemers and other evildoers.

The Social Security Administration’s disability scheme rewards applicants with disabilities for not working. In 1989, 29 percent of Americans reporting disabilities worked. Today, that number has dropped to just 16 percent.

It’s not that disabilities are getting worse, it’s that benefits are more generous and the federal government encourages people who could work to stay idle at home. That not only harms taxpayers, but it robs many disabled Americans of enriched and happier lives.

Disability benefits represent Social Security’s fastest-rising costs, increasing from 10 percent of all Social Security costs in 1990 to more than 18 percent today. Americans shell out $135 billion every year to fund the federal disability system for 8.7 million participants. Both numbers are rising because new rules make it easier to qualify for disability benefits.

The Social Security disability system is projected to go broke in 2017. There’s scant time to fix the system.

Economists Richard Burkhauser of Cornell and Mary Daly of the Federal Reserve recently proposed a solution, rewarding employers who keep individuals with disabilities on the job with lower disability payroll taxes. Doing so would encourage more people with disabilities who can and want to work to continue working.

That’s a better way to save money and help the disabled without all of us becoming accomplices to con men.

Anonymous said...

This link deals with the PR fraud and guilty pleas so far.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 2 years probation will certanly scare people from stealing from the system, no one ever said.

Anonymous said...

So much for "we will seek the maximum punishment allowable under the law"

Anonymous said...

$6773 a month? Ain't no way!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:52

I was sure that your Washington Times Editorial Post was an April Fools Joke. Sadly, the WT really did post that editorial in earnest.

As Anon 8:46 points out there is no way a person could have an SSD rate of $6,773 a month. Anyone who has kept up with the issues could easily spot the editorial's other disproven facts and assumptions, which are fairly well documented and can be found with an easy internet search.

Is it asking too much of the WT editors to consult with someone who actually understands Social Security before publishing such an article, so they won't embarrass themselves? Apparently so. While anyone can have an opinion in an editorial, when the actual facts and assumptions listed in that editorial are demonstrably false, the author (in this case the WT editors themselves) deserve criticism.

Anonymous said...

He did not receive $6700 from SSA, he apparently received that amount in total disability paymens (SSD, private disability insurance, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:47:

Your description makes somewhat more sense. The Times described it as a person who pocketed "$6,773 a month in Social Security disability payments." The Times obviously got it wrong.