The Inspector General at the Social Security Administration recently released an audit of the government agency that says some parents are coaching their children to act disabled in order to get disability benefits, also known as SSI (video below).
The report says that government workers: "told us they believed some parents may have withheld medication, told a child not to speak, or coached a child to 'act up' to improve their chances of obtaining SSI payments. Others questioned whether parents should receive cash payments instead of treatment for the child’s disability."
In one case, a 13-year-old child's aunt was suspected of coaching the teen, who allegedly "could not read, write, or count." But the child's school said the teen was "not a special education student, was doing well in math, and had socialized well with others."
The case was ruled a fraud, and the disability payments ended, but the report found that the Social Security Administration approved an unspecified number of payments to children who were not actually disabled.
One man reportedly received $77,000 per year by saying that his eight kids all suffered from disabilities, which was not true.
“If we are issuing these payments, make sure they’re going to people who actually need them, not people that are abusing the system,” Brandon Arnold, with the National Taxpayers Union, told WSB-TV.
Yetta Myrick, a mom with a real disabled child, was upset by the report because she feels it could end up hurting kids who truly are in need.
“There are going to be children who might not ever talk, who might not ever have access to services, because someone is lying,” Myrick told the news station.
The Social Security Administration says that it wants to fight fraud, but does not have a big enough budget, which has to be approved by Congress.