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Johnson Announces Hearing on Stopping Disability Fraud

April 19, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) announced today that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing, entitled “Stopping Disability Fraud: Risk, Prevention, and Detection,” on Wednesday, April 26, at 10:00 AM in room 2020 of the Rayburn House Office Building. At the hearing, Members will discuss the status of the Social Security Administration’s efforts to prevent disability fraud after several high-profile multi-million-dollar fraud schemes. On the day of the hearing, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will release a new report to update Members on the SSA’s efforts to fight disability fraud.

Upon announcing the hearing, Chairman Johnson said:

“Americans rightly expect that Social Security disability benefits are only for those who deserve them and not for those trying to cheat the program. Yet, for years, Social Security has struggled to put a stop to disability fraud. In the wake of disability fraud rings in New York, Puerto Rico, and West Virginia, Social Security renewed its commitment to fight fraud. At this hearing we will hear the latest from Social Security about its anti-fraud efforts and from GAO about what more needs to be done.”

In January 2014, Chairman Sam Johnson held a hearing in response to the massive disability fraud scheme based in New York City. At the hearing, Chairman Johnson asked the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to provide a full report on the agency’s actions to prevent fraud rings like those found in New York City, and earlier in Huntington, WV and Puerto Rico. The report was submitted on February 14, 2014 and outlined the anti-fraud initiatives the agency would undertake.

A subsequent review by the SSA Office of Inspector General at the request of Chairman Johnson revealed that although the SSA had antifraud initiatives in place, major fraud vulnerabilities still existed and the SSA lacked strategic planning with regard to its fraud risk.

In 2015, the GAO created the Fraud Risk Framework as a guide to federal agencies in developing antifraud strategies by using leading practices for managing fraud risk. As part of the framework, the GAO recommends that agencies like the SSA conduct a fraud risk assessment and develop their antifraud strategies based on identified fraud risks. In response, Chairman Johnson requested the GAO to conduct a study of the SSA’s implementation of the Fraud Risk Framework and to provide an analysis of the SSA’s antifraud activities. GAO will release the findings of its study at the Subcommittee’s April 26 hearing.