"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sen. Tom Coburn worries disability program being used for unemployment benefits

Everyday there seems to be another scam that comes out that people are getting money from the Government when they don't deserve it.  Now it is the disability program replacing unemployment benefits when they run out.  The disability program of social security is about to go broke because of all the people claiming a disability who don't have one.

Reminds us of some of the civil service at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, trying to get a disability before the changes to Civil Service took place.  Have to admit that the doctors at the clinic that they had to clear before getting a disability came up with some novel ideas.  My favorite for bad backs that kept them from working was to throw $100 bill on the floor before they walked in the room.  Except for one legitimate case, the rest bent over to pick up the $100 bill and all their claims were rejected plus they had to give back the $100.  When the head civilian doctor told my boss what was happening, all he could do was laugh but after he left he called the Commander of the Medical Center to tell him they needed to do similar things.  There were officers getting out of the service on a disability for tennis elbows before their rules changed for a disability.  In both areas, civilian and military, they were not disabled.

Don't you think that social security might want to look twice when someone claims a disability if they have been unemployed and do not have a workman's comp claim.  The first question should be 'why not?' Seems like a simple question that if you are under Workman's Comp benefits, there is a track record of injury.  If not, there is probably a good chance you are scamming the system because the unemployment benefits finally ran out.
Sen. Tom Coburn worries disability program being used for unemployment benefits 
Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund is expected to go broke within seven years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Sen. Tom Coburn said it could go broke before that because of “horrendous growth” in the program. 
BY CHRIS CASTEEL ccasteel@opubco.comMay 30, 2011
The number of people collecting Social Security disability insurance payments has risen steadily in recent years. According to agency statistics, disabled workers accounted for 17 percent of all Social Security recipients in Oklahoma in 2009, up from 13 percent in 2003.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the disability insurance trust fund paying the benefits will be exhausted in seven years.
Coburn, R-Muskogee, said in an interview the fund may go broke before that because “growth in this program has been horrendous.”
Clearing blockages
While the Social Security Administration's focus has primarily been on clearing backlogs of appeals that stretch more than a year for people first denied benefits, the agency should be working just as hard to ensure that able-bodied people aren't collecting the payments, Coburn said. 
Coburn said he has some personal experience: A man he hired in Muskogee to do some yard work told him that he was collecting Social Security disability payments. Coburn said Social Security workers from around the country have contacted him to tell of abuses in the program. 
The Social Security Administration is supposed to do regular reviews to ensure those collecting the payments still deserve them. But the agency's inspector general estimated that the backlog of Continuing Disability Reviews would reach 1.5 million this year and that more than $1 billion may be paid out to people who don't deserve the benefits. 
Coburn and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, sent a letter to the inspector general of the Social Security Administration saying they were concerned that some judges were approving appeals at unrealistic rates. 
“Given the looming collapse of (the Social Security Disability Income program), it is imperative that disability claims are properly examined to ensure that only those who are lawfully entitled to benefits receive them,” the senators wrote.

“Individuals cannot be allowed to exploit SSDI, transforming it into a supplemental source of unemployment income with enormous and crippling costs to taxpayers.” 
The senators' request followed a story in The Wall Street Journal about a judge in West Virginia who approves nearly every one of the appeals he hears from people who were first denied disability benefits. 
Applications increase
The Congressional Budget Office said disability insurance applications rose during the previous two recessions. 
“Moreover, the number of beneficiaries tends to increase even after the economy begins to recover from downturns,” the nonpartisan agency said in a report. “Many people who have been out of the labor force for extended periods find it difficult to return to work, and new beneficiaries rarely leave the DI program to return to work simply because the economy has improved. 
“CBO projects that as a result of the most recent recession, the number of DI beneficiaries will continue to rise over the next few years by more than otherwise would have occurred, contributing to the long-term trend of rising enrollment already under way.” 
Source: The Oklahoman
Now we know this is a pattern during a downturn in the economy.  What is shocking is that they rarely go back to work once on disability which means the American taxpayers are stuck no matter their age.  Yet there are people who want to work who are disabled -- something is wrong with this picture.

Just one more program of the federal government that people are finding ways to get taxpayer dollars when they don't deserve them.   This is not the fault of social security but the fault of the people scamming the system who have overloaded social security with disability claims. 

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