It's an issue that impacts spending and people that actually need the help, but doing something about disability payments is another problem entirely.
As reported by The Washington Free Beacon and other news outlets, an inspector general's audit finds the Social Security Administration approved disability payments to children with fake disabilities, giving families over $700 each month per child. In one case, a man was able to receive $77,000 a year in benefits, claiming disabilities for all eight of his children.
Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union, has been speaking out on this issue for years. He tells OneNewsNow that, unfortunately, the laws as well as court rulings have created a wide-open field for disability claims to be made of a highly questionable nature.
"That means that taxpayers end up footing the bill for benefits that either never should have been paid out – or should have at least been terminated once the child in question showed signs of improvement," Sepp says. "And yet, for 20 years and longer, we have had these problems with improper payments with very little action on the part of federal or state officials or Congress to put a stop to it."
At a time in which many candidates and lawmakers are talking about spending cuts and reforms, one might think this area would be an easy target. After all, money wasted on fraudulent or questionable claims is money that can't be spent on real claims.
"There is a political fear that if reforms are enacted, a few deserving individuals might not end up getting benefits," Sepp explains. "And unfortunately, that fear is allowing lots of other benefits to be paid out that shouldn't be, and those children who really need the money are being deprived anyway."
According to Sepp, one thing is for certain: this must be fixed now.
"Deserving children and adults who need disability payments are the ones who are going to suffer most if we don't pursue reforms," he says. "After all, the disability program is set to go belly up this year unless Congress acts to reform it. [And] all those deserving people are going to be left with lesser benefits checks or maybe no checks at all without action on the part of our leaders."
That, says Sepp, would truly be an uncompassionate act.