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Old 10-07-2013, 12:03 PM  
banyon banyon is offline
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60 minutes: Disability Fraud in the US

For anyone who missed this piece last night on 60 minutes, pretty good overview of the problem that somewhere between 25-40% of disability claims in this country are just straight-up fraud.

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and his staff should be commended for bringing this important waste of taxpayer funds to our attention.




I have personally seen this in my pratice too, and it usually makes me want to vomit. We will get someone in court who has just gone on a meth lab/burglary spree and the judge will ask them what they will do for employment "I'm getting my disability next month". Way more frequently than it should happen.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:09 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by banyon View Post
That was kind of one of the points of the piece though, that SSA Disability is being utilized as a de facto long term unemployment plan, but with no legal authority to do so.

The attorneys from Binder and Binder didn't seem especially embittered to me, though they did refer to it as a "legal factory" as you did. I think you ought to watch the piece to give it a fair shake.
I watched it live, actually. Coburn started off the piece by (intentionally or accidentally) misstating the legal standard for disability, and it got more anecdotal and one-sided from there.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:10 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by banyon View Post
http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/...4-86e7890232f1


Key findings of the report include:

• Daugherty Awarded More Than $2.5 Billion in Benefits in the Last Years of His Career. Judge Daugherty moved an unusually large number of disability cases through the agency and awarded an unusually high percentage of disability benefits. Over a nearly seven year period, from 2005 to his retirement in mid-2011, Judge Daugherty awarded disability benefits to 8,413 individuals, which translates into about 1,200 cases per year and an estimated total award of federal lifetime benefits exceeding $2.5 billion.

• Judge Provided “DB Lists” to Conn Law Firm. From at least June 2006 to July 2010, Judge Daugherty telephoned the Conn law firm each month and identified a list of Mr. Conn’s disability claimants to whom the judge planned to award benefits. Judge Daugherty also indicated, for each listed claimant, whether he needed a “physical” or “mental” opinion from a medical professional indicating the claimant was disabled. Over the four year period reviewed, from 2006 to 2010, the monthly list identified between 14 and 52 disability claimants each time for at least 1,823 claimants. Conn Law Firm personnel referred to the monthly list as the “DB List” for David B. Daugherty.

• Daugherty Relied on Conn’s Doctors to Generate Medical Evidence. After receiving the DB List, Mr. Conn’s office scheduled appointments for the identified claimants with certain doctors favored by the law firm. The Conn law firm provided several of those doctors with physical or mental residual functional capacity (“RFC”) forms in which the medical information was already filled out, and the doctors signed the forms without making any changes. Frequently, these pre-filled forms contained information that conflicted with other information in the claimant’s case file.

• Identical Medical Evidence Used for Multiple Claimants. A review of the RFC forms found that the Conn law firm supplied certain doctors with 15 pre-filled versions of the physical RFC form and five pre-filled versions of the mental RFC form for hundreds of claimants. In almost all cases, only the names and Social Security numbers on the forms differed. Of the forms reviewed, 97 described the claimants as having the exact same limitations and contained no unique medical or employment information specific to the claimant. Because each individual has different abilities and ailments, and the forms require a complex set of data, finding two RFCs exactly alike should have statistically been an extremely rare occurrence.

• Key Doctors Had Suspect Credentials. Of the doctors used by the Conn law firm to produce medical opinions for disability claimants, two had their medical license suspended or revoked in another state. Under SSA rules, a doctor with a suspended or revoked license could not be used by the Social Security Administration to review a disability case, but could still examine claimants at the request of a claimant or outside attorney.

• Judge Daugherty Wrote Questionable Decisions Relying on Mr. Conn’s Doctors. A review of 110 case files for disability claimants listed on the DB Lists found the vast majority to contain highly questionable decisions. In all 110 cases, Judge Daugherty’s decisions justified reversing the agency’s prior denial of disability benefits by relying solely on the medical forms provided by the doctors procured by the Conn law firm. All but two of the 110 cases used the agency’s Medical-Vocational grid guidelines to award benefits.

• Mr. Conn Obtained Millions in Attorney Fees Paid by SSA. From cases on the DB Lists alone, over the four year period from 2006 to 2010, the Social Security Administration paid Mr. Conn over $4.5 million in attorney fees.10 Social Security records show that, altogether in 2010, Mr. Conn was the third highest paid disability law firm in the country due to its receipt of over $3.9 million in attorney fees from the Social Security Administration. In 2009, Mr. Conn received a total of $3.5 million in attorney fees from the agency.

• Mr. Conn Paid Doctors Substantial Fees for Evaluations. The doctors used by Mr. Conn to evaluate his claimants were also paid substantial fees. A review of records found that, over the past six years, Mr. Conn paid five doctors almost $2 million to provide disability opinions for his claimants. Mr. Conn contracted with his claimants to repay the fees given to the doctors to perform their medical evaluations.

• Daugherty Bank Records Show $96,000 in Unexplained Cash Deposits. From 2003 to 2011, Judge Daugherty’s bank records contain regularly occurring cash deposits totaling $69,800, the source of which is unexplained in the judge’s financial disclosure forms. From 2007 to 2011, his daughter’s bank records list similar cash deposits totaling another $26,200. When asked about the $96,000 in cash deposits, Judge Daugherty refused to explain their origin or the source of the funds.

• SSA Whistleblower Targeted by Huntington Chief Judge Andrus and Eric Conn. Following the public disclosure of Mr. Conn’s relationship with Judge Daugherty, Huntington Chief ALJ Andrus worked with Mr. Conn to discredit and retaliate against an SSA employee suspected of leaking the information.

• Mr. Conn Destroyed Documents during an Investigation. After talking with SSA OIG investigators, Mr. Conn contracted with a local shredding company to destroy over 26,000 pounds of documents, the equivalent of 2.6 million sheets of paper. Former Conn law firm personnel asserted that he destroyed all hard copies of the DB Lists as well as computer hard drives in his office.
Kudos for him for finding one corrupt ALJ and attorney. Gold star worthy, even.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:12 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cave Johnson View Post
Kudos for him for finding one corrupt ALJ and attorney. Gold star worthy, even.
Probably the only one.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:15 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cave Johnson View Post
Kudos for him for finding one corrupt ALJ and attorney. Gold star worthy, even.
Looks pretty corrput. Again, in the piece, Coburn states that this is just one of the most egregious examples, but by no means an isolated case.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:18 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cave Johnson View Post
Kudos for him for finding one corrupt ALJ and attorney. Gold star worthy, even.
Maybe we can have him look into the for profit industry. Might be just a little easier for him to find corruption in that.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:18 PM   #51
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The report is here:

http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/...d-c7bf9543af36
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:20 PM   #52
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Looks pretty corrput. Again, in the piece, Coburn states that this is just one of the most egregious examples, but by no means an isolated case.
Then prosecute fraud by attorneys and ALJs and randomize the distribution of cases to prevent this type of situation.

I don't like corruption in the legal system any more than you do.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:22 PM   #53
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Take the profitability out of it.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:23 PM   #54
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Probably the only one.
Pretty ****y little game you're playing.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:25 PM   #55
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Take the profitability out of it.
Nice little maxim that should probably apply everywhere, no?

Govt can set us all a living wage, and we'll all agree to subsist on that.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:26 PM   #56
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It's an epidemic IMO. I had know idea how big it was till face book, & I started connecting with peeps I went to school with. I was shocked that several of them were collecting disability, yet not a dam thing was wrong with them.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:26 PM   #57
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:27 PM   #58
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Pretty ****y little game you're playing.
It's not a game. Cave has been quick to dismiss the topic with nearly every post. It looks to me like he has an agenda tied to the subject.

I don't like fraud in social welfare, and I don't like the idea of companies raking big profits off of social welfare.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:29 PM   #59
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It's not a game. Cave has been quick to dismiss the topic with nearly every post. It looks to me like he has an agenda tied to the subject.

I don't like fraud in social welfare, and I don't like the idea of companies raking big profits off of social welfare.
It's not social welfare, it's insurance.

And I don't like fraud either, doesn't make me accuse entire swaths of career paths, or assume degeneracy.

I mean, sure, all plumbers, HVAC techs, mechanics construction contractors and various other laborers are unrepentant thieves, but I don't harp on it. I just accept that laborers are criminals, by and large.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:30 PM   #60
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It's not social welfare, it's insurance.
Except its operating at a loss. It has reached social welfare status.
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