U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) met today in Houston with officials from the Social Security Administration ahead of a congressional hearing next week to examine fraud in the federal disability program. Brady, who requested the hearing of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Social Security, says scammers may be draining up to $11 billion from the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund that helps more than seven million disabled Americans.

“We have a responsibility to taxpayers and the truly disabled to make sure these precious dollars are not lost to fraud and those trying to game the system,” said Brady, a member of the Social Security panel.

Brady met Monday with Patrick O’Carroll Jr., inspector general of the Social Security Administration, and leaders of the Houston Co-operative Disability Investigative (CDI) unit which includes team members from the Social Security Administration, the Inspector General’s office, the state disability agency and Harris County law enforcement.

Since the Houston unit was formed in 2000, the team has successfully terminated 1,003 cases, saving taxpayers nearly $90 million. The unit investigates disability fraud in applicants faking impairments as well as those concealing work payments or medical improvements while receiving disability payments.

O’Carroll told the congressman that 14 tax dollars are saved for every dollar Congress allots to investigate disability fraud allegations. The Social Security Administration is required to conduct continuing disability reviews on each case.

In one particularly egregious case from last year, a dead man was actually put in a wheelchair and brought to a check-cashing store in New York so one of his friends could cash his check (Source: Reuters 1/9/08).