The New York Times today described a vast Social Security Disability fraud scheme among retired New York City police officers and firefighters. The retirees were collecting tens of thousands of dollars per year in fraudulent SSDI payments by faking various illnesses. Many of the claims stemmed from false allegations of disabilities caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Times detailed one former officer who claimed disability because he allegedly could not go outside due to post traumatic stress, yet he was photographed on a jet ski. Another person claimed to have a neck injury, but opened a martial arts studio. The scheme was estimated to have cost taxpayers as much as $400 million in improper payments to over 1,000 individuals.
Sadly, such fraud is likely widespread in the SSDI program. For more, see Tad DeHaven’s recent study on the program here.