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How prevalent is Social Security Disability benefits fraud?

Over the past several weeks, we have discussed various aspects of the fraud scandal currently rocking the Social Security Administration (SSA). As we mentioned, hundreds of applicants for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, their attorneys and their physicians may be found guilty of defrauding the SSA. What makes this story particularly wrenching is that many of the applicants are former members of the New York City Fire Department and the New York City Police Department. Many of those individuals allegedly used their experiences both on 9/11 and in its aftermath to fraudulently seek benefits.

This story is so frustrating and upsetting that it can be easy to think that if many of these heroes could commit SSD fraud that this kind of fraud must be spread like wildfire throughout the system. However, our readers will likely be very happy to learn that SSD fraud is actually quite rare.

According to the influential blog The Hill, Social Security watchdogs confirm that SSD fraud is not only rare but is exceedingly rare. It is important to understand this fact, because reactions to the recent scandal could understandably lead the public to think that the system is overrun by fraudsters.

On the contrary, the scandal is partially shocking given how unique it is. The SSD application and qualification process is thorough, time-consuming and often truly taxing partially to ensure that applicants are not defrauding the system. If you know an individual who receives SSD benefits, take heart in the knowledge that this person is almost certainly receiving these benefits legitimately.

Source: The Hill, “Social Security disability fraud is rare,” Katy Neas, Jan. 16, 2014

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