Cases of Social Security fraud usually make the news as a result of their outlandish or extreme natures. In recent years, there have been cases of fraud involving friends’ wheeling around their deceased friend in a wheelchair to collect his benefits checks, a man’s dressing up as his deceased mother to go into a bank and cash her checks, and the Philadelphia human trafficking case where a criminal group had kept a number of severely disabled adults in a basement while collecting their benefits.
Even though its enforcement wing is chronically underfunded, the Social Security Administration does its best to investigate and prosecute cases like these with what resources it does have. Bolstering investigative resources makes sense – after all, if you can spend several thousand to prosecute a fraud that would have resulted in several tens of thousands in losses, performing the investigation makes perfect financial sense – but this is a choice Congress has to make, and we cannot blame Social Security.
A problem these cases cause for the general public unfamiliar with disability benefits, however, is that some tend to think that fraud like this is rampant. If you search on Google for these extreme cases of fraud, you will undoubtedly find a handful, but do you think you would find 15,043 of them over the past seven years? Finding that many is doubtful.
Why did we pick the number 15,043? That is the number of “DXDI” coded disability applicants since 2005; DXDI is the code that Social Security uses for applicants who die while their application is pending. Cases of fraud may stick in our minds for the outrageousness of their details, but we gloss over the 15,043 who have recently died without receiving benefits. They simply applied for benefits, waited their turn and passed away before receiving any assistance. Their early deaths speak to the severity of the illnesses and disabilities from which they suffered.
Have you suffered a disability that has prevented you from earning any income? Details on how to apply for SSI benefits or SSDI benefits are available from a Tulsa SSI lawyer.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys