The SSA investigates people who apply for disability benefits. How do they chose who to investigate?Most fraud allegations come from the SSA employees. In fiscal year 2014, the SSA received more than 121,000 fraud allegations and more than 58,000 (almost half) of those came from SSA employees. In other words, when you talk on the phone to an SSA employee or go into an SSA office, that employee may decide to have you investigated for fraud.The SSA is claiming they are saving the taxpayer millions of dollars by doing these investigations. But when the SSA or the press publishes the amount they are "saving" - they do their math by claiming they have saved all the money the disabled person would receive in a lifetime. That number assumes that a disabled person will never return to work and will live a normal life expectancy. Those are not sound assumptions to base "savings" upon. But remember, we are talking about the the same organization that has spent $300 million on a new computer system that doesn't work.Is the SSA really saving the taxpayer money? Are disabled people fraudulent? Let's look at the facts.Approximately 3 million people apply for disability benefits each year. Out of all of those people, 121,000 fraud allegations were filed. Out of the 121,000 fraud cases last year, 7000 of those cases resulted in an actual CDI (Cooperative Disability Investigation) investigation. (A CDI investigation typically means that an investigator uses surveillance to spy on the claimant.) Out of those CDI cases, 4100 cases resulted in a denial of benefits or a cessation of benefits. The other 65,000 fraud allegations were non-CDI cases and they resulted in about 1500 fraud investigations, with 1300 of those being presented to Federal or State courts for potential prosecution. There are no numbers for how many of those 1300 cases were actually prosecuted or resulted in non-receipt of benefits. So, out of 3 million people filing for benefits, possibly 7400 people did not receive benefits because they may have committed fraud. The more accurate number is actually 4100, but let's give the SSA the benefit of the doubt and say it is 7400. 7400 people, out of 3 million, might have lied? Wow.Despite the fact that this is a minuscule number of people who might be committing fraud out of over 3 million people who apply for benefits every year - somehow, the "news" is reporting widespread fraud and abuse of the disability program. And somehow, government employees have decided that the best use of your tax dollar is to spend it, not on helping disabled people, but investigating the handful of people who might be committing fraud. The SSA claims they are concerned about fraud, waste, and abuse of the taxpayer dollar, but the truth is they are spending a lot of money to stop a few dishonest people. The SSA is wasting money and resources, misusing our taxes, and creating a bias against disabled people.
DIANNA CANNON, J.D.