If you follow the news, you’ve probably heard that a large group of New York City workers including firefighters and police officers allegedly committed fraud in order to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Naturally, it is disturbing to hear about fraud of any sort.
But what makes this case especially problematic is that Social Security disability programs will now likely be under intense scrutiny. This could make it more difficult for Americans with legitimate disabilities to get their claims approved and to receive their deserved benefits.
In a recent online article, a woman named Katy Neas wrote that despite the recent scandal, the rate fraud in the Social Security Disability Insurance program is very low. Neas is passionate and knowledgeable about this issue as chairperson of a group called the “Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.”
If anything, the problem with SSDI is not that it is too easy to get, but rather that approval is often difficult even for those with legitimate claims. Neas claims that even after exhausting appeals, fewer than 40 percent of disability claims get approved.
While this alleged large-scale fraud may result in close scrutiny of SSDI programs and applicants, we must hope that the scrutiny will not turn into excessive skepticism. Fraud committed by a few bad actors should not be allowed to reduce access to disability benefits for Americans who truly need and deserve them.
If you have a disability that no longer allows you to work, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits. Because the application process can be difficult, however, you may wish to seek the help of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.
Source: The Hill, “Social Security disability fraud is rare,” Katy Neas, Jan. 16, 2013