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Judges Rubber-Stamp $153 Billion In Disability Claims

From the Associated Press of all places:

Report: Social Security judges rubber-stamp claims

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER | June 10, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid complaints about lengthy waits for Social Security disability benefits, congressional investigators say nearly 200 administrative judges have been rubber-stamping claims, approving billions of dollars in lifetime payments from the cash-strapped program.

It’s sort of like the VA scandal, only the polar opposite. But, after all, nothing is too good for our slackers.

Four of the judges defended their work at a combative congressional hearing Tuesday. They said they follow the law. "I’ve seen their ailments, I’ve seen their pain, right in front of me," Judge Gerald I. Krafsur of Kingsport, Tennessee, told the House Oversight Committee.

Krafsur approved 99 percent of the cases he decided from 2005 to 2013, according to a new report by the Republican staff of the Oversight Committee. Lifetime benefits average about $300,000, according to the report, so Krafsur’s cases will lead to nearly $1.8 billion in benefits.

And he is just one judge.

Tuesday’s hearing comes as Social Security’s disability program edges toward the brink of insolvency. The trust fund that supports the disability program is projected to run out of money in 2016…

AKA two years from now.

By the time disability cases reach an administrative law judge, the claims have been rejected at least once and often twice by workers in state offices. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was incredulous that so many judges would rule that initial rejections were so often wrong.

"Are the people below you always wrong?" Issa asked Judge Charles Bridges of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. "I would say they are not legally trained," replied Bridges, who approved 95 percent of the cases he decided…

The committee’s report found that 191 judges approved more than 85 percent of the cases they decided from 2005 to 2013. All told, those judges approved $153 billion in lifetime benefits, the report said.

Has anyone thought to check their bank accounts for any signs of baksheesh?

Social Security employs a little more than 1,400 administrative law judges. "In essence, these judges rubber-stamped nearly every claimant before them for a lifetime of benefits at taxpayer expense," the report said.

The report said some judges approved claims at alarmingly high rates as part of an agency effort to reduce case backlogs and processing times. It is often easier for a judge to approve a claim than to deny it, the report said.

Again, this is like the VA scandal, but different. And naturally the administration approves of making more people dependent on the government.

There are 937,600 cases pending before administrative law judges, according agency statistics…

Has there been a massive catastrophe that there are suddenly so many disabled workers? Or is it just the Obama economy?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, June 11th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Judges Rubber-Stamp $153 Billion In Disability Claims”

  1. I have a friend, white male, mid-50s who has lost both hips and both knees from a bacterial infection. He is in constant pain and is close to being invalided. He finally bowed to his family’s demands he apply for Disability. Result?

    His application was Denied. In less than ten days. No explanation. No reason given. Just a big red stamped DENIED.

    He laughed and told the family “I knew this was going to happen.”

  2. Chrispbass

    This is common….much like Fedex/UPS denying claims when a shipment is broken. You have to keep banging away at F/U until they relent.

    SSA is the same way. The best thing to do is to hire a lawyer and wait. It sucks that they system is set up like that….but that is the way to go about getting disability.
    I have a friend who applied and it involved calling multiple SSA people, with no results. No one would ever know the details of his case and it was always being passed around to other people. It’s kind of like DMV but not as fun. He finally gave up and hired a lawyer. The lawyer took a big ol’ chunk but he got on disability. He is now working and off disability. (A rare case!)


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