I am extremely saddened by the news that a group of approximately 100 former police officers and firefighters were indicted in New York City for allegations of fraudulently seeking and obtaining SSDI benefits. I find these alleged actions to be appalling. Any abuse of the Social Security Disability programs is perpetrated at the expense of millions of disabled beneficiaries to whom SSDI benefits is their only way to survive economically.
If fraud was indeed committed, these individuals should be brought to justice. However, these unfortunate cases of fraud should not be used as a reason to limit disability benefits to those who truly need them. The National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives (NOSSCR), an organization of which I am a sustaining member, has issued a statement regarding these arrests in New York, which states in part: "We cannot allow the bad behavior of a relative few to jeopardize the crucial benefits of millions of Americans with significant disabilities and severe illnesses who depend on these programs.
The Social Security Administration works to prevent fraud. However, the agency needs funds to put up a good fight against corruption in the system. In the past years, the agency has been deprived of the administrative resources it requires to conduct necessary program integrity. Congress must appropriate funds to give the SSA adequate resources to ensure that the right persons receive benefits --with correct amounts and at the right time.