A Senate report is showing that 25 percent of cases are potentially unnecessarily costing taxpayers millions.
A new report from the Senate is showing that one quarter of disability insurance benefits awarded by the Social Security Administration were done improperly between the years 2006 and 2010, which could possibly have cost millions of dollars to taxpayers.
The findings were the result of an investigation that was held over eighteen months.
The research was performed by the chamber’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. What it discovered that approximately one out of every four of the 300 disability insurance cases that were randomly selected, had been awarded benefits “without properly addressing insufficient, contradictory and incomplete evidence.”
Every one of the questionable disability insurance decisions could bring a large cost to taxpayers.
One of the estimates in the report stated that the average award for lifetime disability insurance was $300,000. If that was improperly paid in even a fraction of cases, the unnecessary expense could easily be in the millions.
Heading the investigation, was Tom Coburn, a senator from Oklahoma and a medical doctor, as well as the lead Republican on the subcommittee. Senator Coburn explained that this bipartisan report revealed the data that had been gathered throughout the last few years, and brought together the findings of the programs in the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, which he said were “teetering on financial bankruptcy”.
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The report was 136 pages in length and focused on the disability insurance benefits rulings that had been made in a questionable way by administrative law judges. This included on in Oklahoma who had been determined to have given awards of over $1.6 billion in lifetime benefits in a period of only three years. Oklahoma City’s Judge Howard O’Bryan gave his approval to approximately 90 percent of the cases that he saw between 2007 and 2009.
Within that three year period, he ruled on over 5,400 cases. The majority of them were held without hearings, “on the record”, said the report.
The disability insurance report also found that from January 2009, the agency had increased its rolls by 5.9 million Americans. By 2011, there were 10.6 million people receiving payments of over $128 billion.