If you didn’t see Senator Tom Coburn on 60 Minutes Sunday evening check it out online. Coburn, who is also a physician, picked hundreds of random Social Security disability cases and found that 25% of them were fraudulent. If one is able to do any sort of work, one is not eligible for SSDI, but that hasn’t stopped this huge explosion in SSDI cases over the past few years. And some people are getting rich off of these fraudulent claims, including a Kentucky attorney who made millions. He was the focus of a Senate hearing yesterday.
In testimony more befitting a legal thriller than a congressional hearing, Social Security employees told the Senate on Thursday of an agency office in West Virginia rife with intimidation, retaliation and corruption — including a successful scheme that allowed a lawyer to bilk more than $4 million in taxpayers’ money from the disability system.
Four current and former female employees in the Huntington office told of being stalked and videotaped and having to defend themselves against fabricated charges of misconduct while trying to expose the multimillion-dollar racket.
The scam was able to operate under the nose of the agency because of quotas that required a certain number of cases be processed — and agency employees who looked the other way, the women said.
“That’s pretty stunning testimony, I’ve got to tell you,” Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Senate’s chief investigative subcommittee, told the four women as they laid out details of being followed by a private investigator, or facing retaliation in their jobs, and of cloak-and-dagger tactics the scam organizers used to try to hide what they were doing.
In a report led by staffers for Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, investigators detailed what amounted to a disability case mill that churned out potentially bogus approvals in hundreds of cases.
Read the whole thing. The lawyer, Eric Conn, had help from an administrative law judge who refused to show up and testify, or plead the Fifth Amendment like Conn did.
This was going on in Kentucky and West Virginia, but with the massive amount of new beneficiaries I’m sure it’s happening all over the country. What’s going to happen to the people who really are disabled when the program goes broke?