The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that thousand of employees claim disability benefits when working full-time jobs. Wide-spread fraud was found to be present in both the public, and private, sectors.
The report that 1500 government employees collected benefits from the Social Security Administration (claiming disabilities) while working federal government jobs! Private sector investigation showed more than 62,000 people in 12 states on disability–unable to go to work–but feeling well-enough to apply for licenses as truck and bus drivers.
According to the GAO, fraudulent claims from workers under Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income fleeced the Social Security Administration for $10.7 billion in 2008 alone!
Both programs have enforcement regulations in place to discourage fraud, but GAO investigators found that suspicious claim review and investigations were rare and sporadic. CNBC was given access to a video, recorded using a hidden camera, of employees who showed up for work daily while also being paid for their “disability.”
In California, a TSA employee (yes, the airport “protectors”) working at her station; according to the GAO investigation, she’d bilked the SSA for $100,o00 and lived in a house valued at $1.8 million.
One postal employee in Pennsylvania showed up for work as well; when approached by investigators, she admitted to her crime and also that she’d willing committed what amounted to insurance fraud. When asked why she committed the crime, she told official that she needed the money.
The 1500 federal employees accounted for just over $20 million in 2008. One of those caught actually worked at the Social Security Administration as a collector…of improper payments.
The SSA is not happy with the report; although the investigation was recorded, they claim the GAO’s “study is hopelessly flawed.”
SSA Commissioner will be called to testify before the Senate tomorrow.