Monthly Archives: August 2011

Disability Benefits Set to Run Out in 2017

2017 – that is the year that a series of articles over the past week have referred to as the year that Social Security disability programs will run out of money. That could spell disaster for the significant number of Americans who rely on disability benefits to make ends meet. The Associated Press reported that about 13.6 million receive disability benefits. Those numbers break down further into 7.6 million receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits, 4.4 million receiving Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits and 1.6 million receiving both. Journalists point to two main causes of the 2017 bankruptcy – new applicants and financial mismanagement. The difficult economic times of late have led more to apply to receive disability benefits than in the past. Unable to land a job and suffering from a disability lead people to take a shot at applying for disability benefits, which is part of the…
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Has Disability Benefits Fraud Become Too Easy?

Bolstering the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) abilities to investigate instances of fraud and other criminal conduct could go a long way towards improving the process for legitimate disability beneficiaries. The stories we typically hear in the news about benefits fraud involve huge sums of money that criminals took over a number of years. In many of these stories, the criminal schemes were not terribly complex, but without the resources and staff, the SSA is simply unable to eliminate fraud completely. Two Denver area residents – a man and a woman – are now facing charges pertaining to the theft of Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits. The man reportedly received $26,000 in payments from 2006 to 2010 to which he was not entitled. The criminal charges allege that he falsely stated that he had not worked since 2004 and that he concealed from the SSA that he was working and…
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Disability Benefits May be Providing Too Little These Days

Have you found your Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits stretching less and less? Disability beneficiaries are going through one of the longer periods of time in disability benefits’ history without receiving a cost-of-living adjustment. Since 1975, this has been the only multi-year period that did not see any cost-of-living adjustment. The last increase occurred in the fall of 2008, but it was a higher than usual one at 5.8 percent. The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) considers adjustments each year by looking at the inflation rated based on the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”). If inflation increases, the SSA adjusts disability benefits accordingly; otherwise, it does not change benefits. The 5.8 percent jump apparently outweighed the effects of inflation over the past three years, as the SSA has not made any cost of living adjustments for beneficiaries. This coincides with some of the worst economic times…
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Bodybuilding Fireman Not Guilty of Disability Benefits Theft

Is the physical labor associated with the sport of bodybuilding enough to assume that a person is able to work? That was the question that a federal jury in Boston recently faced in deciding the fate of a fireman whom federal prosecutors accused of fraudulently receiving disability benefits. The 49-year-old claimed that in 2008 he fell at a vacant firehouse and aggravated a back injury that he suffered while working back in 2000. He ran afoul of the law when someone videotaped him competing in a strenuous bodybuilding contest just six weeks after he supposedly severely aggravated the back injury. The jury found the man not guilty. Some of the jurors commented that, while they thought he had schemed to fraudulently receive the disability benefits, the evidence did not meet the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt for the charges that the prosecutors brought – namely, mail fraud. One would…
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