Today the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means is captivation a audition to appraise advancing allegations that a accumulation of firefighters, badge admiral and others in New York City may accept fraudulently acquired Social Aegis Affliction Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
As a adept apostle for bodies with disabilities, I acclaim the aing analysis of these acutely adverse allegations by the Social Aegis Administration, New York City law enforcement, and the House of Representatives. Few things accomplish me angrier than affliction fraud, which jeopardizes the bread-and-er aegis of the millions of play-by-the rules Americans with disabilities. Any corruption of basal programs like Social Aegis Affliction Insurance MUST be advised and prosecuted to the fullest admeasurement of the law.
These belief of declared corruption advance the apocryphal acceptance that artifice is aggressive in the SSDI program. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to Social Security’s watchdogs, ”fraud” in Social Aegis Affliction Insurance is acutely rare. Despite the media absorption to allegations of fraud, it is actually analytical for the accessible to apperceive the affairs of the bodies who await on SSDI.
People like Kira, who lives with bookish palsy, and whose Social Aegis Affliction Insurance allowances beggarly the aberration amid bistro and not eating. Bodies like Carol, who formed as a attenuate abstracts archivist at the Library of Congress until she suffered a astringent alarming academician abrasion afterwards actuality hit by a car while benumbed her bike to work. Thankfully, Social Aegis Affliction Insurance has enabled Carol and her ancestors to accumulate their home from foreclosure.
Our nation’s Social Aegis arrangement – including Affliction Insurance – keeps millions of accomplished Americans like Kira and Carol out of poverty. Allowances boilerplate aloof $1,130 per month. Modest as these amounts are, allowances accommodate basal support, authoritative it accessible to defended abiding apartment and acquirement food, life-sustaining medications, and added basal necessities.
It takes a lot added than aloof actuality out of assignment to affection for SSDI. Workers charge accept paid into the Social Aegis arrangement for continued abundant to be covered in case of disability. Additionally, an appellant charge accommodate all-encompassing medical affirmation of a astringent disability, affliction or injury. The affliction accepted is so austere that beneath than four in ten applicants are accustomed for affliction benefits, alike afterwards all stages of appeal. Many are terminally ill — Social Aegis Affliction Insurance beneficiaries are over three times added acceptable to die than others their age, and about one in bristles men and one in women die aural bristles years of accepting benefits
During today’s hearing, you’ll acceptable apprehend address about the huge advance in the SSDI rolls. It’s accurate that SSDI is confined added people, but this advance is about absolutely due to changes in demographics. A new abstraction puts this in abrupt numbers: increases over the accomplished four decades are about absolutely (90 percent) due to citizenry growth, the crumbling of the babyish bang bearing into the high-disability years, and the access of women in the workforce in greater numbers in the 1970s and 80s so that added are now insured based on their own contributions. Together, these three factors annual for 94% of advance from 1990 – 2008.
The Social Aegis Administration operates on a abundantly angular authoritative budget, according to aloof 1.4 percent of allowances paid anniversary year – and works adamantine to ensure affairs integrity. But it has afresh been beggared of the authoritative assets it needs to conduct basal affairs candor work– a penny-wise, pound- absurd decision. Congress holds the purse strings, and should accommodate the Social Aegis Administration with the assets it needs to ensure that allowances are paid to the appropriate person, in the appropriate amount, and at the appropriate time — and to apparatus the arrangement of analytical checks and safeguards that abide in accepted law.
I appetite the Social Aegis Administration, law enforcement, and Congress to abide to appraise the New York City allegations and any added abeyant corruption agilely and completely. Moreover, anyone who suspects corruption of the Social Aegis affliction programs should address it via Social Security’s hotline 1-800-269-0271 or online at www.oig.ssa.gov.
The Social Aegis Affliction Insurance affairs is one of the best important lifelines for accessible bodies with disabilities. A baby cardinal of declared thieves charge not be the absolution for acid capital supports to law-abiding bodies with disabilities.
Neas is administrator of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities and chief carnality admiral for Government Relations at Easter Seals.
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