Senate report finds disability benefits fraud

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“A two-year investigation of his actions representing claimants applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits uncovered a raft of improper practices by the Conn law firm to obtain disability benefits, inappropriate collusion between Mr. Conn and a Social Security Administrative Law Judge, and inept agency oversight which enabled the misconduct to continue for years,” the report concludes.

Coburn said that the fraud was hurting the truly disabled and the report lists a series of steps the government can take to prevent fraud. 

“Every bogus claim made on behalf of someone who is not truly disabled robs taxpayers and denies or delays benefits for someone who is truly disabled.   This is an enormous and urgent problem that should demand our immediate attention,” Coburn said in a release.

The report found that Daugherty, who was sanctioned and allowed to retire, had awarded an unusually large $2.5 billion in benefits and had received unexplained cash payments. The judge had provided the Conn law firm with assistance through lists in obtaining medical opinions for Conn clients. 

The investigation found questionable benefit awards by Daugherty based on evidence by doctors who had suspect medical credentials, and determined that Conn had destroyed a massive amount of evidence once he came under congressional investigation. 

The Democratic chairman of the panel said the investigation was troubling.

“While we don't have any evidence that this is more than an isolated case, one example of inappropriate actions of this nature is one too many,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said. “ I am encouraged that the Social Security Administration has already acknowledged many of the issues raised by the investigation, and I understand that it has begun to implement stronger reviews and other solutions.”