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First the shutdown, now Social Security is accused of fraud

Published on October 11th, 2013

Throughout the course of keeping our readers well-informed about the state of the Social Security Administration and offering advice about how to proceed with complicated situations involving your benefits we have come across some truly concern-worthy stories. The recent government shutdown was among one of them, which could have an incredible impact on beneficiaries here in Illinois as well as across the nation.

But now there is another concern of fraud accusations, which have been submitted against a retired Social Security judge in West Virginia. The judge is accused of conspiring with a lawyer to fabricate evidence for disability claims so as to approve hundreds of cases. But while these accusations are being made miles away from residents here in Illinois, the panic from this situation could spread, leading to further investigations in other states and trapping legitimate cases in the crosshairs.

We’ve seen this happen in the past. While beneficiaries are grateful when fraudulent cases are uncovered –this ensures the integrity of Social Security and makes sure funds will be available for legitimate claims – many non-fraudulent cases also fall under scrutiny and may be denied even though they have a genuine claim. This could be an issue in the case mentioned above as well, with concerns for the beneficiaries who may also suffer consequences for someone else’s illegal activity. It’s unknown if these people have since had their benefits taken away or if they will be allowed to appeal this change in benefit status.

Cases such as this often muddy the waters for everyone by casting doubt on the system and making it look like even legitimate claims are fraudulent ones. This can lead to undue burden for some beneficiaries who may have to appeal their case because of something someone else did miles away.

Source: The U.S. News, “Social Security judge accused of disability scheme,” The Associated Press, Oct. 7, 2013

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