As we all know, the Social Security Disability fund is running low. As we explained in a past post, there are societal and political reasons for the lack of funding, but instances of fraud within the system also siphon off money that should be going to those who really need it.
In terms of the Social Security disability program, fraud can include reporting a fake injury or illness, exaggerating about an injury or illness in order to obtain benefits, filing numerous applications for benefits with the Social Security Administration or lying about work status. Essentially, disability fraud means collecting disability payments that a person is not rightfully entitled to.
In effort to combat disability fraud in Michigan, the state is partnering with the SSA in creating the Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit. The unit already exists in 25 other locations around the country where $168 million in fraudulent disability payments was reportedly saved over the past year alone.
“We’re very pleased to partner with the Michigan Department of Human Services to expand our efforts to combat fraud and to ensure the integrity of Social Security’s disability programs for the citizens of Michigan,” the Social Security inspector general said at a press conference announcing the program last month.
The goal of the program is to investigate possible instances of fraud and stop it before any benefits are paid. While it is good that people taking advantage of the program in Michigan now face a greater likelihood of being caught, it could also result in innocent SSDI applicants and beneficiaries being wrongly accused of fraud.
Individuals who are accused of committing disability fraud or want to make sure to avoid accusations should speak with an experienced SSD attorney in their area.
Source: WNDU.com, “New Michigan program will investigate disability fraud,” Aug. 15, 2014