50% of all disability claims bogus?

That’s probably understating the problem.

60 Minutes:

[T]he Federal Disability Insurance Program, … could become the first government benefits program to run out of money. When it began back in the 1950s it was envisioned as a small program to assist people who were unable to work because of illness or injury.

Today, it serves nearly 12 million people — up 20 percent in the last six years — and has a budget of $135 billion. That’s more than the government spent last year on the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the Labor Department combined. It’s been called a “secret welfare system” with it’s own “disability industrial complex,” a system ravaged by waste and fraud. A lot of people want to know what’s going on. Especially Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Tom Coburn: Go read the statute. If there’s any job in the economy you can perform, you are not eligible for disability. That’s pretty clear. So, where’d all those disabled people come from?

The Social Security Administration, which runs the disability program says the explosive surge is due to aging baby boomers and the lingering effects of a bad economy. But Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Subcommittee for Investigations — who’s also a physician — says it’s more complicated than that. Last year, his staff randomly selected hundreds of disability files and found that 25 percent of them should never have been approved — another 20 percent, he said, were highly questionable.

14 Comments

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14 responses to “50% of all disability claims bogus?

  1. Anonymous

    Watched it last night….you should have seen the two processing clerks who saw one bogus claim after another….and our wisdom government regulators kept paying. Proves that we don’t need more laws, just fucking enforce the ones on the books today.

  2. Cos Cobber

    I have said this before. I am familiar with three completely unrelated sets of individuals with highly questionable disability claims…. Disability is a tremendous scam.

  3. For anecdotal confirmation, watch Judge Judy sometime. It’s amazing how often it’s revealed that a litigant is on disability, and to her credit, Judge Judy asks questions about “the nature of the disability.” From the answers the viewer can usually infer that it’s a scam.

  4. Sy Kottick

    There are dozens of psychiatrists in south Florida who, for $1000, will put together a package certifying that you are a complete loon, and will guarantee your eligibility for disability. What a country!

  5. Years ago 60 Minutes did a story on the abuse of government disability payments in Italy. About a third of the adult population got full or partial payments and many continued to work. In one town, the town bus driver was collecting for being blind.

    This is where we’re headed.

  6. Dollar Bill

    Never mind that fraud accounts for less than 1% of all disability payments. Never mind that the majority of claims appeals are denied. Never mind that award rates have fallen during the recession. This CBS special was a Teabaggers wet dream, untroubled by facts or evidence other than a few anecdotes offered by wingnut Senator Coburn of Oklahoma. Just reinforces the lazy and deceptive myth that our country’s decline is being hastened by greedy disabled poors. Not one if 60 Minutes finer moments…typical of brain-dead Teabaggers to lap up this shoddy exercise in journalism.

    • Great response Bill – now if you can just get Francis to help you link to the authorities you cite for your statistics, you’ll really be on a roll. Seriously, Francis – is this really the voice of Greenwich Democrats you want out in public? Can’t you get Ramadamadingdong to take over Bill’s spokesman’s position?

      • “Can’t you get Ramadamadingdong to take over Bill’s spokesman’s position?”

        At least all we’d have to be subjected to is “Ommmmmmmmmmmmm, Ommmmmmmmmmmmm, Ommmmmmmmmmmmm …… Ommmmmmmmmmmmm.

    • Jonathan

      Here’s a Fed paper leveraging actual Social Security data http://www.richmondfed.org/publications/research/region_focus/2012/q2-3/pdf/feature3.pdf
      Some of the more interesting bits…the number on SSDI is up 30% in the recession, in the past 30 years the average age of those on SSDI has declined, those with claimed (and difficult to prove) mental disorders has doubled, those with a HS degree or less have been over-represented among new recipients. “Economists point to a change in eligibility requirements to the rapid rise. This change allows for an applicant’s reported pain or discomfort, even in the absence of a clear medical diagnosis. In addition, workers could qualify if they had multiple conditions that affected their ability to work, even if none of the conditions was
      disabling on its own.”

  7. Anonymous

    I have 2 members of my extended family that have been getting disability checks for years!! They are both definitely qualified to do something!! One is even a lawyer!! They are scamming the system with everyone else. Frustrating to say the least!!

    • Cos Cobber

      @Anonymous 6:26,

      Yeah, I’m actually familiar with four bogus disability households myself. One filed after retiring early from teaching in order to enhance their retirement and plug the gap to when full SS begins. Two others have claims more to do with a drug problem than the bad back’s for which they are on file for. Another worked in the state police force for a small amount of time, then had a circumstance which allowed them to leave early and have been living on a disability boost their retirement ever since. In the case of the police person, I knew this person for 20 years before I was tipped off on their story, Never saw them have trouble with anything whats-so-ever.

  8. Once

    I met someone in Minnesota who had a “reading” disability in a town where he could have gotten a job in a packing plant. I imagine that disability category will increase because of the state of our public schools.

  9. Flash

    So why do we turn our heads and let these crimes go unpunished?