The Social Security Disability (SSD) program has been in the news recently, and it hasn’t been good. In August, authorities in Puerto Rico indicted 75 suspects for allegedly making fraudulent SSI claims, while in January, 106 retired New York City police officers and firefighters were indicted. Carolyn Colvin, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced in March that the Social Security Administration is responding by launching a new fraud prevention unit.
According to prosecutors, the Puerto Rico fraud scheme was put together by three doctors and a Social Security employee who helped than 70 people report bogus psychiatric conditions or phony back or cervical pain. The former Social Security employee received a quarter of the recipients’ initial lump sum payments. The retired firefighters and police officers in New York are accused of receiving SSD benefits while healthy and being privately employed. The indicted individuals have received more than $21.4 million in SSD benefits since 1988.
In response to these indictments, the Social Security Administration has established the new fraud unit to identify potential fraud cases and to detect fraud trends. Experienced disability examiners will collaborate with Social Security systems personnel to help build data analytics to detect and prevent fraud. The new unit will start work with 20 disability examiners based in Jamaica, New York.
The new fraud unit will also suggest ways to update the SSD application process. Scrutiny of applications will be heightened and additional information may be required from applicants. If you need to apply for SSD benefits, it’s imperative to have the help of an experienced Social Security disability attorney. A good disability lawyer can review your application, help you compile legal documents, and offer sound advice. If benefits are initially denied, an experienced Social Security disability attorney will help you through the appeal process and work aggressively for the benefits you need and deserve. If you need SSD benefits, or if you have been denied SSD benefits, get the help you need and call an experienced Social Security disability attorney today.