People in St. Louis often wonder why, after paying into the Social Security fund throughout their professional lives, they’re required to seemingly jump through so many administrative hoops to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, if the need ever arises. Yet the Social Security fund may be much more fragile than many think. Thanks to cases of fraud and abuse, some national analysts believe that the SSD fund could be bankrupt in as soon as 18 months.
One such case of alleged fraud has generated national headlines recently as the third highest paid disability lawyer in the country has been accused of acting in collusion with a local judge to defraud the Social Security Administration (SSA) of millions through disability claims. The attorney’s actions first came under suspicion in 2011 when claims processors at a regional SSA office began to notice his unusually high percentage of benefit claims approvals. A federal lawsuit was filed questioning his practices in getting his clients approved for SSD benefits. It is believed that the attorney would purposefully look for doctors whom he knew would sign off on a client’s disability, and then submit those claims through the same judge who would award the benefits without questioning any of the documentation. It’s estimated that the pair worked in conjunction to approve more than 1,800 claims over a four year period amounting to over $2.5 billion in benefits.
Due largely in part to cases such as this and other examples of Social Security fraud and abuse, the SSA is often required to be extremely stringent in determining disability. Those who have question on whether they qualify for SSD benefits may wish to speak with a qualified disability attorney.
Source: WKYT “Disability attorney breaks silence: ‘The truth will be forthcoming’” Oct. 10, 2013