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Johnson Statement on Social Security Disability Insurance Fraud Conspiracy in Puerto Rico

August 21, 2013

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) made the following statement in response to the Social Security Disability Insurance fraud conspiracy in Puerto Rico.

“I was outraged to learn of the unprecedented and widespread disability fraud arrests in Puerto Rico.  That such fraud could occur in the first place raises serious and troubling questions regarding Social Security’s management of the disability program.  Clearly this isn’t a case of just a few bad apples.  The bottom line is that this fraud hurts those who are truly deserving of these vital benefits and undermines the public’s trust.  I commend the U.S. Attorney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, and the Puerto Rico Police Department for bringing this fraud to light.”

In the last two years the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security has held 10 hearings on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, including hearings on disability fraud, how disability is decided and the challenges to achieving fair and consistent decisions.  While Social Security’s definition of who is disabled is a strict one, there are also subjective criteria, based in statute, that affect the way disability cases are determined. 

Johnson added, “In September, the Social Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing as part of its effort to get to the bottom of how this fraud occurred.  At a time when the Disability Insurance program will be unable to pay full benefits beginning in 2016, my number one priority is to make sure we keep this program strong for those who truly need it.  Americans want, need and deserve no less.” 

For more information from the U.S. Attorney General click here.