Chicago attorney Howard Ankin says he supports one Congressman’s efforts to reduce Social Security fraud. Representative Sam Graves, a Republican from Missouri, introduced legislation on March 5 that would target fraud within the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
The new legislation expands the Cooperative Disability Investigations program, which combines resources at both the state and federal level to investigate potential fraud. Rep. Graves claimed in his release that the program returns $17 for every $1 that is spent.
Rep. Graves said it is critical that the government address the coming shortfall in Social Security resources. Without reform, it is expected that Social Security will, at some point, have to implement a 25 percent cut to benefits across the board.
While Rep. Graves admitted that his bill doesn’t resolve all of Social Security’s funding issues, he did say that fraud is one area of grave concern. He added that a reduction in fraud will allow Social Security to commit more resources to those who actually need help.
Howard Ankin, of the Chicago firm Ankin Law, agrees with that thinking. He says that fraud, or even the perception of fraud, in the Social Security Disability Insurance program takes away resources from those who need help the most. Applicants must navigate a complicated application process to prove that they are not fraudulent and may even have to take their case to an appeal board or a Social Security judge.
Mr. Ankin also says that the possible reduction of benefits in the future could be devastating for those on Social Security disability. He says, “My clients who receive disability often have very serious and debilitating conditions. They have very few options to fund their lives and often live on very little income. A future cut in their disability payments could push them over the financial cliff.”
He supports any reforms that will strengthen the Social Security program. While reducing fraud may not be a comprehensive solution, it is a step in the right direction, according to Mr. Ankin.