Disability USA - 60 Minutes


I thought this was a good program by 60 Minutes on disability fraud.

Steve Kroft reports on the alarming state of the federal disability program, which has exploded in size in the last six years and could become the first federal benefits program to run out of money.

More people need to stand up against fraud, so we can afford to help those really in need.


Disability fraud is amateur nite down on the farm in comparison to the fraud committed in the Food Stamps program.
Many College Students from middle class families, who get full support from their parents go on the food stamp program when they really do not need it. I personally witnessed a very well dressed young lady just ahead of me in the check out line at a supermarket, try to purchase cat food in addition to other groceries (including cuts of beefsteak I couldn’t afford). When she was told she couldn’t buy the cat food with food stamps, she returned it and returned with a 5 lb. bag of frozen shrimp. She announced to one and all that her cat would enjoy the treat!
In my neighborhood, the East Village of NYC, it is not unusual to see homeless people buying cigarettes and beer with food stamps in local Bodegas. Yes that is illegal, but the government does not have the wherewithal to enforce these laws!
In NYC, almost everyone who files for unemployment compensation is asked if they want food stamps…and this whether the person was a minimum wage type or a former executive making just short of a gazillion dollars a year! Oh well, someone else is paying for it!!!


There’s not often a way to know who’s genuine and who isn’t.
A more effective approach would be to tackle alcohol and drug use and provide people with other activities plus selfesteem.


Problem in my city is people using their food stamps to buy food for someone else who is shopping with them and then receiving money in exchange; Normally a 50% discount.
One hundred dollars in groceries for a person and they give the recipient of the food stamps
fifty dollars they can spend on alcohol and cigarettes.


this is a problem that needed to be addressed long ago. I live in Arizona and disability fraud and food stamp fraud are rampant here.

I personally know of a woman who divorced her husband, got government housing - a beautiful little HOME (not an apartment) in a nice area of town with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a nice backyard. she is still living there and moved in there in the late 1980’s. of course, she has gotten government health care all this time and probably food stamps as well. I believe she got onto disability in 1986 when she was around 42 years old. she is 71 now. so Arizona taxpayer money has been providing her a place to live for about 30 years, free healthcare and food stamps. she was always at the family bbq’s and went on vacations and cruises. what a joke!

the last I heard she filed bankruptcy when supposedly her children charged things on her credit card up to $20,000. I don’t know how she got a credit card in the first place when she hasn’t worked in over 30 years, but I am sure she told the kids to charge refrigerators, TV’s, washers and she knew she would never be paying it back.

cases like this make my blood boil. and she is only one case. she had relative inside the system who told her what to say and do to get on the programs 30 years ago.

there are so many more out there. it doesn’t seem to bother them either and that is really troubling.


At the age of 62-65 every person is entitled to Social Security retirement and Medicare. She is not ripping anyone off.


I guess you didn’t read the post.


I saw that when I worked at Walmart. People would buy others food for gambling cash, drugs, you name it.


maybe you should reread my post. she began receiving disability at the age of 42. so she did so for 20 some years.


I believe they are already working on these in the public schools. Doesn’t seem to be working, though.


I also watched this 60 minutes episode and got my blood boiling, I have to go to work everyday and alot of the times, ends do not meet, and I have to sacrifice in order to pay bills, we know someone, who is now 66 yrs old and I believe getting regular SS, but they have never worked a day in their life, when they were 18, his parents got a doctor to go along and he was given full disability, and has been on it ever since, but Im not sure what changed upon him reaching retirement age, do they keep getting disability or go on regular SS? The amount is the same though, so Im guessing it may be disability, as he has never worked, so he would not have the credits for regular SS…???

Im really tempted to report him for this, this person could have worked for their entire life, but IM not sure how to go about reporting him, Can anyone help?


i believe if it can be proven that a person has defrauded the government whether it be disability, food stamp or welfare, they have to pay it back.

I am not sure if you know the reason for the person getting disability or not, or how hard it would be for them to prove it since they received it for so long.

I also know a married couple that joked how they fooled the people in California to get on disability. I believe they were in their 40’s. they owned a business in Arizona and I wondered how they were able to do run that business in spite of their disability. they were so rich!! it didn’t make since to me.

I am sure there is not enough money in the state governments to investigate the claims of fraud. people learn how to work the system and then pass the word along. meanwhile, the rest of us are paying our taxes to support them.

I believe there are definitely people that deserve to receive disability. don’t get me wrong.
however, I think the system is greatly abused.


You would stay on disability, normally. If, in the US, a minor is disabled before the age of 16, and that selfsame disability continues, the benefits received are based on the working parents’ credits, not his own (as, since he became disabled before USA minimum working age, he had no possibility of earning credits), and called survivorship benefits. So, if his father made $72,000 a year for 30 years, he is getting paid based on some percentage of his father’s credits, not on his own. I am in support of this system (survivorship benefits), but it is one of the reasons SSA is going bankrupt, because it allows those who have not paid in to the system (even though they could not have, being disabled young) to receive benefits as if they had (thus reducing the amount of money in the entitlement). The answer? Raise taxes 5% on those making $300k or more a year.


We’ve got a failing system in America, and yet I hear alot of young and not so young people say that we can make it work if we start taxing people more.


It’s the new American way. :thumbsup:


What they mean is tax “other people” more.


:thumbsup: yes, as long as it is the other person and not them!! the same woman who I mentioned above in my posts who has abused the system for many years believes the rich should be taxed more. as long as someone is paying her bills.


sad but true. after the great recession,folks whose unemployment,when it ran it’s course were then going on disibility,to keep the income stream coming. My husband golfed on occasion with a postal worker,who was double dipping.He applied for disability before retiring,so he now receives both.Add to that he foreclosed on his home,continued to live their until he had to leave…a real paragon of virtue he was!:rolleyes:
He used to brag about his scheming ways,needless to say my husband discontinued his friendship.


Interesting, perhaps, is the fact that at disability hearings nobody represents the government at all. The claimant often has a lawyer, but the government doesn’t. All the government (usually a contractor) does is get records from the doctors or shrinks the claimant tells them about. Sometimes the government sends the claimant to some doctor for examination, but often not, and that doctor doesn’t get the funds to do any real testing.

And that, as well as the claimant’s testimony, and that of a “vocational expert” is all the evidence that ever gets presented. A lawyer who knows his/her way around the system knows the vocational expert has a very mechanical system to “input” the physical data into, and steers the medical to fit the criteria for “total disability”.

And nobody represents the taxpayers in all of that. None at all.

Very rarely, SS will send out investigators on a “complaint basis” if it sounds plausible. But they’re not well budgeted either, and investigations are very rare.

With a system like that, it’s a wonder everybody isn’t on SSD. Well, if your tax returns show you’re working more than some minimal number of hours/week, then you won’t get it unless you quit right before your case is filed.


Okay, I’ll play devil’s advocate.
A lot of people who are applying for disability have been discarded by the economy and have no hope of ever finding a decent job with benefits. Many are middle-aged & were raised to believe going on welfare is disgraceful while disability doesn’t carry the same stigma.

For applicants the process is arduous, at least in my area the SOP is to deny all claims no matter how legitimate after which the applicant may appeal. This means poor people receive a check for benefits going back to the date of original application which can be thousands of dollars. This can be a disaster.

My biggest problem w/the system is that children can receive disability (usually for learning disabilities or psych problems) benefits. Unh-uh. It should be for workers who can’t work.

Yes, one can always find horror stories of welfare bums who use Food Stamps to buy shrimp & steak. But I work at a shelter for homeless familes and I see women leave at 6:00AM for an 8-4 job because they have to job because they have to take two buses to drop children at daycare (usually a grandmother or aunt) and two buses to McDonald’s Wal-Mart or Hampton Inn.

So what are we going to do with obsolete workers whose unemployment has run out? They can’t all be greeter at Wal-Mart. Let’s not forget that landlords, grocery stores and the economy generally benefit from Section 8, Food Stamps & various welfare programs.

What’s the solution? Beats me. :frowning:

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