Social Security Disability Fraud Investigations

The Social Security Administration uses Cooperative Disability Investigation (“CDI) Units to investigate potential fraud.  The CDI units work with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) as well as state and local law enforcement agencies.  Such investigations take place during the entire application process, and also during continuing disability reviews.  Investigations can be generated by state agency employees, SSA employees, private citizens, anonymous sources, and law enforcement agencies.  During the investigation, the CDI Unit can interview the application, interview third parties, conduct surveillance, and/or examine the claimant’s social media accounts.  It appears such investigations are expanding.

COLA

There will be no cost of living adjustment for Social Security and SSI beneficiaries in 2016.

SGA Threshholds

Substantial gainful activity thresholds – Non-blind

2016: $1,130/month

2015: $1,090/month

Substantial gainful activity thresholds – blind

2016: $1,820/month

2015: $1,820/month

Trial Work Period

2016: $810 per month

2015: $780 per month

SSI Amounts

Individual:

2015/2016: $733 per month

Couple

2015/2016: $1,100 per month

“simple, routine tasks or unskilled work”

An ALJ does not account “for a claimant’s limitations in concentration, persistence, and pace by restricting the hypothetical question to simple, routine tasks or unskilled work.”  Winschel v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 631 F.3d 1176 (11th Cir. 2011).

Disability Denials on the Rise

According to Social Security Forum, Vol. 37, No. 8 (p. 9): “. . . ALJ’s are issuing more denials than at any time. . . .   Along with the almost 29 percent decrease in the ALJ allowance rate from 2009 . . . to 2014 . . . , the Appeals Council fully favorable and remand rates have also decreased.”

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