Skip to comments.Web put off-limits to Social Security claims judges
Posted on 05/04/2012 10:33:16 AM PDT by magellan
The Social Security Administration last month told its disability-claims judges they are no longer to seek out information from websites when deciding cases taking away a tool some of those judges say would help in uncovering fraud.
Agency officials said reviewers can't trust information posted online, and also said the mere act of typing in queries could compromise protected private information, so they shouldn't try to access anything.
Social Security's ban covers all Internet sites, including social media such as Facebook.
But Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and a top taxpayer watchdog, said avoiding the Internet means giving up a valuable anti-fraud weapon one that he said even federal courts have relied upon in some disability cases.
"If an individual claims to be disabled, and then publicly posts a picture participating in a sport or physical activity on a social media website, such information should be used by [adjudicators] to determine if the claimant was truly disabled," Mr. Coburn wrote in a letter last week to Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
“Social Security Administration”....so who in SS has family members on disability whose FaceBook Pages are incriminating?
Another valuable anti-fraud weapon would be cameras in every room in every house.
The easiest and least intrusive way to prevent fraud is to prohibit the government from paying people FOR DOING NOTHING.
While some are just bent on approving anyone for disability status, most of the ALJ's honestly want to review facts and receive sworn testimony in the hearings. How you can stop a judge (even a "lowly" ALJ) from asking about the claimant's activities that the claimant is bragging about in a public forum (Facebook, et al) is asinine.
Every means of identifying a claimant's daily activities must be explored.
This does go against the regime's goal of making the majority of Americans dependent on government (or the collections of taxes from others).
The weakness of SS Disability hearings is there is no active representative there from the party holding the purse (the federal government). The SS ALJ is there as the decision maker and so is the claimant and his or her attorney who plays the violin on behalf of the claimant.
The SS ALJ has the record made by the SS agency when the claimant filed, submitted medicals and what the agency decided when turning down the claim, plus the ALJ is supposed to know the rules and levels of disability needed to allow benefits. The claimant’s attorney can bring in new evidence, but no one on the government side is there to dispute it or develop new evidence by the time of hearing.
In state worker’s compensation cases, the party with the purse, the private insurance company or state fund can send in an attorney to develop more evidence, present it at the hearing and dispute what the claimant’s attorney is pitching. That is why Worker’s Comp is still in the black in most states and SSDI is flat broke.
My point is that the ALJ can ask the claimant under oath if this/that is their posting of activities. If it is not, the judge moves on.
The amount of fraudulent claims in the Disability system is staggering and growing.
You might be surprised how many folks who claim disability are documenting activities that would disprove disability under Social Security regulations.
That is just one of the SSDI system weaknesses. It is an antiquated system that has changed little since the 70’s.
Not to mention those who are genuinely disabled following a catastrophic injury/incident who have been denied multiple times at the Administrative (Office) level and have to wait years until a hearing is scheduled before an ALJ.
There was only one ALJ in the office I was contracted through over the course of 15+ years who would tell the claimant that he was approving the claim on the spot...and that it would still take months before they would receive the approval paperwork from the bureaucracy.
Word is out on the street. If you apply for SSI, you gonna git it.