Report estimates over $1.3 billion paid in improper SSD benefits

Qualifying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for injury isn’t an easy process. One has to qualify for those benefits according to the guidelines set up the Social Security Administrations (SSA). The SSA qualification process is very thorough and boasts a 99% accuracy rate in proper benefits paid. However, that isn’t to say that there aren’t people in St. Louis who are currently abusing the SSD system.

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that the SSA issued over $1.3 billion in improper SSD payments from 2010 through 2013. In order to qualify for SSD, it has to be determined that one has a severe impairment that won’t allow them to return to the same work that they performed before, or to successfully transition into another career. And while SSD is typically meant to only be a means of support until one is able to return to work, it usually has to be determined that the effects of the disabling injury will keep the person from working for at least one year.

To determine the extent to which one is actually restricted from working, the SSA has a five-month waiting period during which one cannot earn more than $1,000 per month. Once can also return to work and still receive benefits during a trial period which is used to determine if he or she is ready to re-enter the workforce. According to the GAO, most of these improper benefits were believed to have been to beneficiaries who continued to receive benefits after having successfully transitioned back into the workforce after the waiting and trial periods.

If it’s believed that one has received improper SSD benefits, the SSA may try and recoup those payments. To determine whether one is still receiving SSD from injury benefits properly, one may wish to consult with a Social Security Attorney.

Source: USA Today, “Feds: 36,000 got improper disability pay” Stephen Ohlemacher, Sep.14, 2013

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