WE CAN REVERSE THIS IF WE EDUCATE AND GET RID OF ALL THESE GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS!
I will start with Social Security and Disability. People may not know that these are two separate Trusts. Disability payments do not come from our Social Security Trust as they have a separate funding source. So, when people say that Social Security is healthy and will be solvent for decades ----and can be made solvent forever with just a few small changes----they are not talking about Disability Trust. This is being soaked with losses due to disability fraud. Clinton Wall Street pols are allowing these social trusts to be looted even more than Bush and have openly allowed Social Security Disability lawyers and a rigged court system drain Disability Trust dry by making it the subprime crime of this decade----allowing almost anyone to qualify for Disability at great losses to those people and the national Disability Trust. IT IS DELIBERATE.
REMEMBER, CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS AND REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO END ALL WAR ON POVERTY AND NEW DEAL PROGRAMS AND WANT THESE PROGRAMS LOOTED AND IMPLODED OF FUNDS.
For a few decades now people have been allowed to fall into the category of Disabled with a huge explosion. Puerto Rico was found to have a super-majority of its citizens tied to Disability sucking the Trust dry. Disability lawyers are saturating the system with these claims and a separate court was created to move all these claims forward. These lawyers take a sizable chunk of the bolus of money these people claiming Disability receive-----the the people allowed to attain Disability lose rights to a sizable amount of what their future Social Security payments will be. People are not understanding that as a middle-class person having worked all their lives and now are one of tens of millions unable to find work and are broke----their Social Security monthly payments may have been from $2,000 to 3,000 a month. When they claim Disability one of the stipulations is that what they receive as a month disability payment today will stick for the rest of their lives. BYE BYE $3,000 a month----HELLO $1,200 a month. See how a former middle-class citizen made desperate from long-term unemployment and needing a source of cash comes to this Disability pipeline and loses half of what their Social Security payments would have been if they waited until age 65. When people are made desperate for money they do not look at these consequences---they want that money now. So, they are treated as PAY DAY LOAN consumers being fleeced of their future Social Security for a short window of receiving Disability payments.
THIS POLICY IS A DELIBERATE ONE CREATED BY CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS AND BUSH NEO-CONS TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM ACCESSING YET ANOTHER LIFETIME SAVINGS AND RETIREMENT/SAFETY NET PROGRAM.
This special court for Disability has allowed huge numbers of people through with low requirements because the idea is to implode the Trust and kill the future payments people will receive at 65---all the while Disability lawyers are getting rich from these people's retirement savings. They are transferring people's retirement wealth to lawyers. Below you see the advertisement these law firms place-----notice they look for the high-end Social Security people knowing Disability will lower them to $1,200 a month! They are deliberately gutting people's future SS payments using Disability.
Apply for Disability
Are you eligible for up to $2642/mo in Social Security
Social Security Disability Insurance: A Primer
SSDI benefits, though fairly modest for many workers, are reliable and secure. For a disabled worker with medium earnings (career-average earnings at roughly 100 percent of the national average wage index, or $37,222 in 2007), SSDI benefits replace about 43 percent of earnings. For a disabled worker with low average lifetime earnings ($16,750 in 2007), benefits replace a higher share of past earnings, about 54 percent. When benefits for dependents are included, roughly 60 percent of earnings are replaced for medium earners, 80 percent for low earners. Benefits are higher, but replacement rates are lower, for high earners (Figure 4).
Democratic voters hate when I try to expose Democratic pols as not being Democrats. Look below to see who will be my candidate for President in 2016----Bernie Sanders. He is fighting to protect Disability Program and benefits as it becomes sucked dry from this explosion of people----which is not bad since there is nothing to catch them. Yet, he allows for dips into the Social Security Trust to pay it without speaking to problems of using Disability as simply Welfare. The second issue is that all these people being allowed to be categorized as Disabled have huge cuts to their Social Security when they retire at 65 and Bernie does not address this huge issue. Bernie does promote making the few small adjustments needed to boost Social Security Trust to augment these losses and wants to keep it public----not privatized to Wall Street which is GOOD.
Bernie Sanders Exposes Republican Plot To Cut Social Security For 11 Million Disabled People
By: Jason Easley more from Jason Easley Monday, January, 12th, 2015, 4:47 pm
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is warning that Republicans are plotting to cut Social Security benefits for 11 million disabled Americans through a rule change that would make it more difficult to fund the disability account.
In a statement, Sen. Sanders explained what the House rules change will mean for disabled Americans who depend on Social Security:
“Around 11 million Americans, including nearly 2 million children with a disabled parent, rely on Social Security to help keep them out of poverty,” said Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.
A new House rule creates a legal obstacle course that would make it harder to shift funds from the Social Security retirement account, which has a big surplus, to the smaller disability account. Such transfers have been done routinely in the past under both Republican and Democratic presidencies, including four times under President Ronald Reagan.
Without a transfer to shore up the disability fund, Social Security Administration experts say the disability program will run short of money next year, and there will be only enough to cover 80 percent of scheduled benefits.
“Instead of working to strengthen Social Security for all, the House Republicans’ new rule puts America’s most vulnerable at risk,” Sanders said.
The rule change is a part of a Republican effort to kill Social Security. If the disability fund can’t be replenished, Benefits will have to be cut, and some of the most economically vulnerable people in our society will be pushed deeper into poverty. According to experts, the problem with the Social Security disability cash assistance programs is that it limits the earnings of disabled individuals to just above the poverty line. This creates a trap that makes it impossible for individuals who can’t work to escape poverty.
The ideal solution would be the exact opposite of what Republicans are trying to do. Instead of cutting benefits, lawmakers should raise the income limit, so that disabled individuals can keep their benefits while also possessing an avenue to potentially escape poverty.
The Republican rule change that would lead to more benefits cuts will only push millions of Americans with no source of income further into poverty. House Republicans are repeating a pattern of attacking those who most need assistance. Since they have taken over the majority, Republicans have tried to cut benefits for the unemployed, children, wounded veterans, the elderly, and the disabled.
Sen. Sanders is using his position as the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee to sound the warning about what Republicans intend to do. The Republican agenda is all about taking from those at the bottom in order to give more to those at the top. Republicans want to carry out a massive upward redistribution of wealth. John Boehner rejected the idea of a $2,000 tax cut for middle-class families but has long been a champion of permanent tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
The Republican desire to remake America into an oligarchy knows no limits. Sen. Sanders is leading the charge against the oligarchs, and the economic future of millions depends on his warnings being heeded.
This is a good article on the state of our Disability system. When Reagan/Clinton embraced neo-liberalism and global markets----they created the policies that sent US corporations overseas to be able to avoid all US labor and justice laws and the New Deal corporate tax code that made the US a thriving first world nation with a first world quality of life. Instead of earning the millions corporations were in the US---neo-liberals and neo-cons wanted empire-building and corporations earning billions and now trillions of dollars. Those two terms of Reagan and Clinton made unemployment soar in America and took full-employment to what is today the lowest participation in the workforce in US history----at 63%. Almost 40% of Americans are not working. As this article tells----this number is hidden in large part by this designation of Disabled not being considered unemployed. The Disability system created in LBJ's War on Poverty once did its job right----only people who were really disabled received these benefits. But, as unemployment rose in the 1980s and 19990s with global markets more and more people were made desperate for some kind of income. Just a few years in poverty will create physical conditions that are disabling so I am not trying to say many people are faking disability----I am saying that the increased poverty from neo-liberalism tied with the defunding and dismantling of public health created this system of huge numbers of people being called disabled. Fast forward through the 2000s-----you know Bush and his subprime implosion of public agencies by lowering standards for things from getting home loans to getting car loans to getting PAY DAY LOANS-----the same was done with the Disability Program and the door opened to tens of millions of people to claim disability as more and more people lost their jobs.
Keep in mind that is Americans knew that almost 50% of the American workforce was being sidelined by global neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism----they may have rose to fight this a decade or more ago. THAT IS WHY THIS IS HIDDEN.
WHEN AN ARTICLE IS WRITTEN BY NPR TODAY AND NOT TWO DECADES AGO WHEN PEOPLE COULD KNOW-----THEY ARE NOT ACTING IN PUBLIC INTEREST. THIS HAS BEEN KNOWN FOR DECADES.
Please glance through this long article---it gives a good overview of how and why a Disability Program that did its job helping really disabled people has been imploded as it was used to replace Welfare when Clinton neo-liberals ended the program in the 1990s.
'PCG is a private company that states pay to comb their welfare rolls and move as many people as possible onto disability'.
Autor and Duggan argue that because the definition of disability adopted in 1984 is quite broad, the SSDI program often functions in practice as an insurance program for unemployable people
Unfit for Work
The startling rise of disability in America
By Chana Joffe-Walt In the past three decades, the number of Americans who are on disability has skyrocketed. The rise has come even as medical advances have allowed many more people to remain on the job, and new laws have banned workplace discrimination against the disabled. Every month, 14 million people now get a disability check from the government.
The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined. Yet people relying on disability payments are often overlooked in discussions of the social safety net. The vast majority of people on federal disability do not work. Yet because they are not technically part of the labor force, they are not counted among the unemployed.
In other words, people on disability don't show up in any of the places we usually look to see how the economy is doing. But the story of these programs -- who goes on them, and why, and what happens after that -- is, to a large extent, the story of the U.S. economy. It's the story not only of an aging workforce, but also of a hidden, increasingly expensive safety net.
For the past six months, I've been reporting on the growth of federal disability programs. I've been trying to understand what disability means for American workers, and, more broadly, what it means for poor people in America nearly 20 years after we ended welfare as we knew it. Here's what I found.
In Hale County, Alabama, nearly 1 in 4 working-age adults is on disability. On the day government checks come in every month, banks stay open late, Main Street fills up with cars, and anybody looking to unload an old TV or armchair has a yard sale.
Sonny Ryan, a retired judge in town, didn't hear disability cases in his courtroom. But the subject came up often. He described one exchange he had with a man who was on disability but looked healthy.
"Just out of curiosity, what is your disability?" the judge asked from the bench.
"I have high blood pressure," the man said.
"So do I," the judge said. "What else?"
"I have diabetes."
"So do I."
There's no diagnosis called disability. You don't go to the doctor and the doctor says, "We've run the tests and it looks like you have disability." It's squishy enough that you can end up with one person with high blood pressure who is labeled disabled and another who is not.
I talked to lots of people in Hale County who were on disability. Sometimes, the disability seemed unambiguous.
"I was in a 1990 Jeep Cherokee Laredo," Dane Mitchell, a 23-year-old guy I met in a coffee shop, told me. "I flipped it both ways, flew 165 feet from the Jeep, going through 12 to 14,000 volts of electrical lines. Then I landed into a briar patch. I broke all five of my right toes, my right hip, seven of my vertebrae, shattering one, breaking a right rib, punctured my lung, and then I cracked my neck."
Other stories seemed less clear. I sat with lots of women in Hale County who told me how their backs kept them up at night and made it hard for them to stand on the job. "I used to cry to try to work," one woman told me. "It was so painful."
People don't seem to be faking this pain, but it gets confusing. I have back pain. My editor has a herniated disc, and he works harder than anyone I know. There must be millions of people with asthma and diabetes who go to work every day. Who gets to decide whether, say, back pain makes someone disabled?
As far as the federal government is concerned, you're disabled if you have a medical condition that makes it impossible to work. In practice, it's a judgment call made in doctors' offices and courtrooms around the country. The health problems where there is most latitude for judgment -- back pain, mental illness -- are among the fastest growing causes of disability.
In Hale County, there was one guy whose name was mentioned in almost every story about becoming disabled: Dr. Perry Timberlake. I began to wonder if he was the reason so many people in Hale County are on disability. Maybe he was running some sort of disability scam, referring tons of people into the program.
After sitting in the waiting room of his clinic several mornings in a row, I met Dr. Timberlake. It turns out, there is nothing shifty about him. He is a doctor in a very poor place where pretty much every person who comes into his office tells him they are in pain.
"We talk about the pain and what it’s like," he says. "I always ask them, 'What grade did you finish?'"
What grade did you finish, of course, is not really a medical question. But Dr. Timberlake believes he needs this information in disability cases because people who have only a high school education aren't going to be able to get a sit-down job.
Dr. Timberlake is making a judgment call that if you have a particular back problem and a college degree, you're not disabled. Without the degree, you are.
Over and over again, I'd listen to someone's story of how back pain meant they could no longer work, or how a shoulder injury had put them out of a job. Then I would ask: What about a job where you don't have to lift things, or a job where you don't have to use your shoulder, or a job where you can sit down? They would look at me as if I were asking, "How come you didn't consider becoming an astronaut?"
One woman I met, Ethel Thomas, is on disability for back pain after working many years at the fish plant, and then as a nurse's aide. When I asked her what job she would have in her dream world, she told me she would be the woman at the Social Security office who weeds through disability applications. I figured she said this because she thought she'd be good at weeding out the cheaters. But that wasn't it. She said she wanted this job because it is the only job she's seen where you get to sit all day.
At first, I found this hard to believe. But then I started looking around town. There's the McDonald's, the fish plant, the truck repair shop. I went down a list of job openings -- Occupational Therapist, McDonald's, McDonald's, Truck Driver (heavy lifting), KFC, Registered Nurse, McDonald's.
I actually think it might be possible that Ethel could not conceive of a job that would accommodate her pain.
Four years ago, when I was working as a reporter in Seattle, I did that story. I stood with workers in a dead mill in Aberdeen, Washington and memorialized the era when you could graduate from high school and get a job at a mill and live a good life. That was the end of the story.
But after I got interested in disability, I followed up with some of the guys to see what happened to them after the mill closed. One of them, Scott Birdsall, went to lots of meetings where he learned about retraining programs and educational opportunities. At one meeting, he says, a staff member pulled him aside.
"Scotty, I'm gonna be honest with you," the guy told him. "There's nobody gonna hire you … We're just hiding you guys." The staff member's advice to Scott was blunt: "Just suck all the benefits you can out of the system until everything is gone, and then you're on your own."
Scott, who was 56 years old at the time, says it was the most real thing anyone had said to him in a while.
There used to be a lot of jobs that you could do with just a high school degree, and that paid enough to be considered middle class. I knew, of course, that those have been disappearing for decades. What surprised me was what has been happening to many of the people who lost those jobs: They've been going on disability.
Scott tried school for a while, but hated it. So he took the advice of the rogue staffer who told him to suck all the benefits he could out of the system. He had a heart attack after the mill closed and figured, "Since I've had a bypass, maybe I can get on disability, and then I won't have worry to about this stuff anymore." It worked; Scott is now on disability.
Scott's dad had a heart attack and went back to work in the mill. If there'd been a mill for Scott to go back to work in, he says, he'd have done that too. But there wasn't a mill, so he went on disability. It wasn't just Scott. I talked to a bunch of mill guys who took this path -- one who shattered the bones in his ankle and leg, one with diabetes, another with a heart attack. When the mill shut down, they all went on disability.
I don't know what that rogue staffer meant when he told Scott Birdsall they were trying to hide those mill guys. But signing up for disability benefits is an excellent way to stay hidden in one key way: People on disability are not counted among the unemployed.
"That's a kind of ugly secret of the American labor market," David Autor, an economist at MIT, told me. "Part of the reason our unemployment rates have been low, until recently, is that a lot of people who would have trouble finding jobs are on a different program."
Part of the rise in the number of people on disability is simply driven by the fact that the workforce is getting older, and older people tend to have more health problems.
But disability has also become a de facto welfare program for people without a lot of education or job skills. But it wasn't supposed to serve this purpose; it's not a retraining program designed to get people back onto their feet. Once people go onto disability, they almost never go back to work. Fewer than 1 percent of those who were on the federal program for disabled workers at the beginning of 2011 have returned to the workforce since then, one economist told me.
People who leave the workforce and go on disability qualify for Medicare, the government health care program that also covers the elderly. They also get disability payments from the government of about $13,000 a year. This isn't great. But if your alternative is a minimum wage job that will pay you at most $15,000 a year, and probably does not include health insurance, disability may be a better option.
But, in most cases, going on disability means you will not work, you will not get a raise, you will not get whatever meaning people get from work. Going on disability means, assuming you rely only on those disability payments, you will be poor for the rest of your life. That's the deal. And it's a deal 14 million Americans have signed up for.
Below you see what created the soaring numbers of people into Social Security Disability Insurance-----Clinton did Welfare to Work at the same time he did global market expansion that moved US corporations overseas and unemployment soared. So, Clinton and Republicans knew these people would not be going back to work......there were no jobs. Welfare to Work required states to get people off of welfare rolls in a period of time so this ended with states weakening the terms for Disability to transfer people long-term unemployed into SSDI.
Now, I am not a rocket scientist but I know if you create an economic policy that moves jobs away and create massive unemployment and that all those people move into SSDI----which comes from our Social Security payroll taxes----that SSDI will implode. Fast forward the two/three decades since Reagan/Clinton pressed global expansion and VOILA-----SSDI Trust is emptied and now using our Social Security Trust. This will shorten the longevity of SS by decades.
The End Of Welfare As We Knew It
Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press Bill Clinton signs welfare reform into law (1996).
A federal program for disabled people was first proposed in the 1930s. Even then, a Social Security actuary was worried. "You will have workers like those in the Dust Bowl area, people who have migrated to California and elsewhere, who perhaps have not worked in a year or two, who will imagine they are disabled," the actuary wrote. The cost of the program could be higher than "anything that can be forecast."
The actuary's warning gets at a central tension in a much bigger debate: What should we, as a country, do for people who aren't making it? Americans want to be generous. But Americans don't want to be chumps.
The first key pieces of the modern safety net were created in the 1930s, under Franklin Roosevelt. The first federal disability program was created in the '50s. A few years later, Lyndon Johnson pushed to expand the federal safety net further.
In the '80s, Ronald Reagan argued that a robust economy would do more to eliminate poverty than any federal program. When Reagan used the term "welfare queen," it was clear where he stood. He didn't want to be a chump.
Bill Clinton tried to appease both sides. He expanded many programs for the working poor, but he also promised to "end welfare as we know it" -- to nudge people off of public assistance, give them some job training, and force them to make it on their own. "A society rooted in responsibility must first promote the value of work, not welfare," Clinton said. History has judged Clinton's welfare reform a big success.
But when you include disability in the story of welfare reform, the picture looks more ambiguous.
Part of Clinton's welfare reform plan pushed states to get people on welfare into jobs, partly by making states pay a much larger share of welfare costs. The incentive seemed to work; the welfare rolls shrank. But not everyone who left welfare went to work.
‘Can you think of anything else that’s been bothering you and disabling you and preventing you from working?’ A person on welfare costs a state money. That same resident on disability doesn't cost the state a cent, because the federal government covers the entire bill for people on disability. So states can save money by shifting people from welfare to disability. And the Public Consulting Group is glad to help.
PCG is a private company that states pay to comb their welfare rolls and move as many people as possible onto disability. "What we're offering is to work to identify those folks who have the highest likelihood of meeting disability criteria," Pat Coakley, who runs PCG's Social Security Advocacy Management team, told me.
The company has an office in eastern Washington state that's basically a call center, full of headsetted women in cubicles who make calls all day long to potentially disabled Americans, trying to help them discover and document their disabilities:
"The high blood pressure, how long have you been taking medications for that?" one PCG employee asked over the phone the day I visited the company. "Can you think of anything else that's been bothering you and disabling you and preventing you from working?"
The PCG agents help the potentially disabled fill out the Social Security disability application over the phone. And by help, I mean the agents actually do the filling out. When the potentially disabled don't have the right medical documentation to prove a disability, the agents at PCG help them get it. They call doctors' offices; they get records faxed. If the right medical records do not exist, PCG sets up doctors' appointments and calls applicants the day before to remind them of those appointments.
PCG also works very, very hard to make the people who work at the Social Security happy. Whenever the company wins a new contract, Coakley will personally introduce himself at the local Social Security Administration office, and see how he can make things as easy as possible for the administrators there.
"We go through even to the point, frankly, of do you like things to be stapled or paper-clipped?" he told me. "Paper clips wins out a lot of times because they need to make photocopies and they don't want to be taking staples out."
There's a reason PCG goes to all this trouble. The company gets paid by the state every time it moves someone off of welfare and onto disability. In recent contract negotiations with Missouri, PCG asked for $2,300 per person. For Missouri, that's a deal -- every time someone goes on disability, it means Missouri no longer has to send them cash payments every month. For the nation as a whole, it means one more person added to the disability rolls.
There it is-----it moves people off of welfare and tapping into their own retirements and that of everyone else tied to these Trusts.
The Disability-Industrial Complex
Credit: Lam Thuy Vo / NPR Files at Binder and Binder, a law firm that handles some 30,000 disability cases each year. In the past few decades, an entire disability-industrial complex has emerged. It has just one goal: Push more people onto disability. And, sometimes, it seems like the government is outmatched. This is especially true in the legal system.
Daytime TV in many places is full of ads from lawyers who promise to fight the government and win the disability benefits you deserve. There are tons of YouTube videos about getting disability -- one lawyer, one webcam. The standard form is a let's-get-real chat about how to win this thing.
There is one man who takes much of the credit for this industry: Charles Binder. "When we started," Binder told me, "I don't think anybody else was advertising." What's more, most people who applied for disability were denied and never had a hearing. Binder, and the lawyers who followed him, changed that. "I've created some of the problems for the government because so many people appeal," Binder says.
When he started in 1979, Binder represented fewer than 50 clients. Last year, his firm represented 30,000 people. Thirty thousand people who were denied disability appealed with the help of Charles Binder's firm. In one year. Last year, Binder and Binder made $68.7 million in fees for disability cases.
The way Binder tells it, he's is a guy helping desperate people get the support they deserve. He is a cowboy-hatted Lone Ranger going to court to fight the good fight for the everyman.
Who is making the case for the other side? Who is defending the government's decision to deny disability?
"You might imagine a courtroom where on one side there's the claimant and on the other side there's a government attorney who is saying, 'We need to protect the public interest and your client is not sufficiently deserving,'" the economist David Autor says. "Actually, it doesn't work like that. There is no government lawyer on the other side of the room."
The Social Security Administration says disability hearings were never meant to be adversarial. In these courtrooms, the judges are employees of Social Security. So the judges are supposed to both represent the government and make a fair and objective determination. But the judges themselves say this role can be difficult.
Judge Randy Frye, who hears disability cases in North Carolina, told me he often finds himself glancing to where he imagines there should be a chair for the government attorney, as there would be in a normal case. "There are always moments where you are concerned maybe you missed something," he says.
"You would turn to that chair and say, 'Counsel, I'm having trouble with this issue. Why does the government think this case should not be reversed?'"
Politicians pay lip service to this problem during election cycles, but American leaders have not sat down and come up with a comprehensive plan.
In the meantime, federal disability programs became our extremely expensive default plan. The two big disability programs, including health care for disabled workers, cost some $260 billion a year.
People at the Social Security Administration, which runs the federal disability programs, say we cannot afford this. The reserves in the disability insurance program are on track to run out in 2016, Steve Goss, the chief actuary at Social Security, told me.
Goss is confident that Congress will act to keep disability payments flowing, probably by taking money from the Social Security retirement fund. Of course, the retirement fund itself is on track to run out of money by 2035.
Goss and his colleagues have worked out a temporary fix under which the retirement and disability funds will both run out of money by 2033. He says he hopes the country will have come up with a better plan by then.
Now, while the people above are often simply trying to find something to replace Welfare as they cannot find jobs-----there are very few cases of working people faking Disability to get out of working. THAT IS A MYTH. You can bet those are the kinds of cases that any attempt to correct this problem will look.
Below you see the real problems-----this is organized crime and it is sucking Disability Trust dry just as it does the Medicare Trust. Criminals know the process has no oversight and accountability and create elaborate schemes to scam the system. A report had most citizens in Puerto Rico signed on to Disability to later find it was a huge scam. This is what is killing the program as the same does Medicare.
So, the problems for Disability is that it was used to replace Welfare and the problems of Welfare is high unemployment. We all know that we had full employment with maybe 4% unemployed before Reagan and Clinton took the US to global corporations and global markets.
Massive Social Security Fraud Case In Puerto Rico
| By DANICA COTO Posted: 08/21/2013 4:47 pm EDT Updated: 10/21/2013 5:12 am EDT Huffington Post
Those charged include three doctors and 71 Social Security claimants accused of receiving more than $2 million in disability benefit payments. But the biggest haul allegedly went to a former Social Security worker accused of taking $2.5 million while directing claimants to doctors who would file false claims.
"There has never been a case like this in the history of the Social Security Administration," said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez. "If this fraudulent activity hadn't been stopped, the government would have lost more than $35 million."
The former Social Security worker claimed to help clients seeking benefits and directed them to doctors who would earn up to $500 for each fake claim, said Ed Ryan, New York-based special agent in charge of the Inspector General's office of the Social Security Administration's investigations office.
Rodriguez said agents took videos of people that belied their claimed ailments. She said one who claimed back problems was a gym owner who posted a picture of himself on Facebook lifting a girl above his head.
Federal agents launched the investigation in 2009, and gradually "it became apparent that the conspiracy was much larger and far-reaching than we thought," Ryan said.
The magnitude of the fraud led the agency to move the office in charge of reviewing Social Security claims from Puerto Rico to Baltimore, said Carlos Cases, Puerto Rico-based FBI special agent in charge.
Cases noted that of the top 10 U.S. zip codes tied to people receiving disability benefits, nine are in Puerto Rico. "Not everyone is receiving them fraudulently, but it is worrying," he said. "Something is wrong."
Rep. Sam Johnson, a Texas Republican and the Social Security chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee, said he will discuss the Puerto Rican case during a September hearing.
"Clearly this isn't a case of just a few bad apples," he said in a statement. "That such fraud could occur in the first place raises serious and troubling questions regarding Social Security's management of the disability program."
Ryan said that his agency has established a unit in San Juan to help investigate possible Social Security fraud. He said 24 other cities in the U.S. mainland have similar units.
"It's basically to stop the bleeding before it begins," he said.
Rodriguez said that more arrests are expected in upcoming weeks.
For those not knowing the process of Social Security Disability think of what happens when a person chooses to use it -----let's say a middle-class person with a history of solid wages has a chance at a $2800-3200 a month Social Security payment. Well, the middle-class has all but been eliminated and this last crash took many more so who do you think those tens of millions of people looking toward Disability for support will be?
MANY OF THEM ARE THE FORMER MIDDLE-CLASS THAT WOULD HAVE RECEIVED THAT $3,000 A MONTH IN SOCIAL SECURITY.
What does accepting Social Security Disability do to that monthly payment? It reduces it to $1200 a month......it more than halves your monthly SS payment. It doesn't matter if you were on Disability for a few months or years----your future SS payment will be that low $1200 a month. They fixed you into poverty and took huge chunks of what you deserved as a retirement.
Below you see who gets part of that chunk. When you are approved for Disability you receive a bolus check to stabilize your finances and $6,000 would be what a middle-class earner would get. If you used a lawyer 25% of that goes to him as a fee. So, $1200 of that money goes to the lawyer and hundreds of thousands of dollars in future SS payments are lost.
How does the pay scale for a Social Security Disability lawyer work?
There are specific rules in place to hire an attorney or advocate speaking on your behalf with regard to your Social Security Disability claim. These rules are there to protect claimants from unsavory business practices and to make sure that attorneys get paid if the disability claim is successful. They are universal and apply to anyone representing a Social Security disability claimant.
The first step is to create a fee agreement with your chosen disability attorney or advocate and submit it before a favorable determination is granted on a particular claim. If this is not completed before hand, then a fee petition must be filed.
For any type of representation, there are limits on how much an attorney can receive. The fees are limited to 25% of the accrued benefit amount, and they cannot exceed $6,000. Payment will be made only after a favorable determination has been made on a claim. Since claims can take a long time to be processed and the first payment will be retroactive to the date the claim was filed, the first payment will include all of the months prior to the date benefits were awarded.
Attorneys will only receive 25% of the first payment or $6,000 depending on which one is lower. The payment will be sent directly from the Social Security Administration to the attorney and the balance will be sent to the claimant in the form of a check or direct deposit.
Keep in mind that it is strictly forbidden and illegal for someone to charge upfront or ongoing fees for assisting you with your disability claim. Payment is only received after a positive determination has been made. If a claim is denied, then your representative is not entitled to any compensation or payment.
Social Security Disability has become the next subprime loan scam as the standards are lowered to allow tens of millions of people move to Disability from Welfare or unemployment when benefits end. What most people don't understand is if you are eligible for a large SS payment at retirement-----accepting Disability will cut that by 50-60%---AND THAT IS WHY THEY SUBPRIMED DISABILITY----TO LOWER SS PAYMENTS FOR TENS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. Remember, the people having the most problems with unemployment ----middle-age and seniors how spent their whole life working at good paying jobs.
Lawyers Scalp $1.2 Billion From Social Security In 2013
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/08/2014 14:11 -0400
inShare4 Via David Stockman's Contra Corner blog,
Social Security’s financial woes due to an aging American population are hardly news.
However, the elderly are not the only group covered by Social Security. Since 1956, disability has been included as a part of Social Security, providing income to those who are physically unable to work. Along with the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), these two programs have provided a booming industry for attorneys, according to a report from the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is no small program, costing taxpayers more than the combined cost of federal welfare payments, housing subsidies, food stamps and school lunches. Attorneys receive taxpayer-funded fees each time they successfully place a client in the program, which incentivizes them to encourage clients to file disability claims. The fees are capped at 25 percent of the successful client’s SSDI award, or $6,000, whichever is less.
Attorneys took in $1.2 billion in such fees in 2013, up from just $425 billion in 2011.
In 2010, the report notes that nine of the top 10 highest-earning SSDI lawyers made more than $2 million just in fees that year. Claimants’ representatives need not be attorneys to receive the fees, a rule that changed in 2004 when Congress voted to allow non-lawyers to represent disability claimants. What resulted, however, was an explosion in profits to SSDI-focused law firms such as Binder and Binder, which hired large teams of people to work on disability claims and sent their profits soaring, reaching $88 million in 2010.
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Full report here:
Trial Lawyers Nov 2014