There is a move in Congress to place more checks on how Social Security Disability Benefits are distributed. Unfortunately, disability checks often fall into the hands of other individuals that use the money for they own personal uses. A woman was recently accused of leaving disabled people locked up in her basement while she was cashing their benefit checks. The woman in question was a paroled murderer who brought in mentally disabled people to sign for benefits before she would then abscond with the funds.
Unfortunately, those most harmed by the wrongful distribution of the disability benefits are usually mentally disabled individuals or children under the age of 15 years of age. Oversight has been a problem since there are millions of representative payees along with millions of beneficiaries. The amount of disability benefits paid out on a yearly basis amounts to $61 billion.
Many of the rules put into place to protect disabled individuals from fraud lack any enforcement mechanism. The Social Security Administration does not have the resources to implement background checks upon representative payees who are in charge of the disabled person’s benefit payments. Sometimes other options need to be explored to insure that these benefits are protected.
Every person entitled to disability benefits has the right of independent representation for their particular case. These recipients may be dependent upon such benefits for all of their basic necessities. Therefore every person entitled to disability benefits has the right to independent representation. Just applying for Social Security Disability Benefits is already a complicated process. Also, without individual representation, children and mentally disabled recipients may be prey to others fraudulently trying to divert their benefits to other accounts.
Source: Associated Press, “Lawmakers seek Social Security check protections,” by Andrew Miga, Nov. 21, 2011