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SSA background checks to target abuse of SSD beneficiaries

We have previously written about the fact that disabled Americans are often targeted by various fraudsters. Some people misperceive that all disabled individuals are uniquely vulnerable and can be taken advantage of without consequences. This misconception could not be farther from the truth. However, in an effort to protect those disabled people who may be uniquely vulnerable financially, mentally or emotionally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is expanding a pilot program aimed at reducing the abuse of certain individuals who receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Certainly, not all SSD beneficiaries are in need of such protections. However, other individuals are in need of a bit of extra fraud prevention protection due to a variety of factors. Individuals with certain mental disabilities, emotional disabilities, physical disabilities and individuals of advancing age may not be aware of the fact that people in their lives are taking advantage of their SSD benefits fraudulently. The SSA is trying to crack down on this kind of unscrupulous behavior.

The pilot program was initiated in June of 2012 and will now be expanded to various areas of the country. In essence, the program will prohibit certain individuals from receiving SSD benefits on behalf of elderly or disabled beneficiaries if these personal representatives have committed certain crimes. Among the crimes that will disqualify individuals from receiving benefits on behalf of a disabled person are robbery, kidnapping, fraud by scheme, identity theft, human trafficking and abuse or neglect.

Once this background check program becomes more widespread, it is hoped that truly vulnerable beneficiaries will be spared illegal treatment by fraudsters.

Source: Philly.com, “Social Security expands background checks,” Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker, March 3, 2014

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