A Texas lawmaker is spearheading a review of the Social Security Administration’s management structure after several allegations relating to disability claims have arisen in recent months. Representative Sam Johnson, who is chair of the House subcommittee that oversees Social Security, directed the inspector general to initiate the review. His instruction was sent out in mid-January, approximately one week after the Manhattan District Attorney’s office brought forth a case that alleges more than 100 people were cheating the Social Security Disability Insurance program. These individuals were allegedly collecting benefits for which they should not have qualified.
Sadly, the New York case is not unique in its allegations of fraud and improper actions relating to Social Security. In August of 2013, the U.S. Attorney in Puerto Rico brought forth a related case. In his action, he similarly points to wide scale disability fraud. The action in Puerto Rico represents one of the largest sweeps since the 1950’s. Further, the U.S. Justice Department is also investigating whether an improper relationship existed between a former Social Security judge and a disability lawyer in West Virginia and Kentucky.
Social Security is a valuable program to society that pays nearly $140 billion annually in benefits, aiding approximately 11 million people. It is one of the government’s largest entitlement programs. Frighteningly, however, the trust fund is projected to run out of money in 2016. As a result, these allegations as to abuse of the system are even more relevant.
Texas Representative Johnson is seeking a “top to bottom” review of the Social Security system. Some speculate that this may create tensions between Social Security Administration officials and the inspector general, who is responsible for overseeing and investigating the Agency’s operations.
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