Lessons From NY Disability Fraud Case

Another round of disability fraud in New York City has made national headlines and it’s an excellent example of how disability claims can be abused. There were already 100 retired firefighters, police officers, jail guards and others accused of scamming the Social Security disability system and most recently 32 more people were charged.

An interesting aspect of this round of allegations is that some of the newly accused happen to be the sons of some of the men from the first round of accusations. These fathers are thought to be the ringleaders of this whole operation. The early numbers of the amount of the people and money from this scam were revised and now prosecutors believe there could be hundreds of people involved in cheating the Social Security disability system out of $400 million.

One of the key points of this scheme is that half of those accused are charged with faking the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder to get a payday from the Social Security disability benefits program. A lot of the recipients were told to link their conditions to 9/11.

The fathers who are a part of the accused include a retired police officer and a benefits consultant, they are a part of a group of four men that are thought to be involved in telling the disability retirees how to get away with faking their conditions. It is also alleged that these four men received tens of thousands of dollars in secret payments, all four of these supposed ringleaders deny the charges.

We don’t yet know if any of the accused are guilty because they have not yet gone to trial. While all of the accused will have their day in court, this second round of Social Security disability fraud accusations demonstrates why it is important to have a quality Independent Medical Examination (IME) at the beginning of any claim for Disability benefits. A quality IME means there will be less of a chance that a claimant will be able to fake their disability.

According to CNN “Prosecutors said the defendants were meticulously instructed on how to fail memory tests with plausibility, how to dress and how to behave. Nearly every application included identical descriptions of daily living.”

There will always be people who will try to lie to receive a check from disability benefits program, it doesn’t matter if it is private sector disability insurance or the Social Security disability system. Disability insurance is an important benefit for millions of Americans and the only way to protect the reliability of these systems is to make sure that the providers who examine the claimants are using the most rigorous standards.

There are ways to determine if a claimant is trying to fake a disability claim, this is true if it’s a physical or psychological disability claim. The best and most experienced providers use multiple testing methods to bring out a false claim. There are tests where the same questions are asked in different ways to see if someone is falsifying information.

Some providers who do IMEs for disability claims may have a large amount of claims that they need to do exams for, again this can be true for private sector disability or the Social Security. While each of these exams can be a daunting task, it’s important to know that your providers will pay attention to details with each IME they complete. The urge to rush through an IME must be resisted. The integrity of the private and public disability insurance systems depends on it.

The big lesson to take away from the NY Disability Fraud Case is this: it’s all about the providers. Disability insurance claims depend on providers knowing how to provide an unbiased and thorough IME. This will help to prevent fraud and make sure that disability insurance works for the people who really need it.

Handicapped Grooming and Ordinary Tasks

Personal hygiene is keeping the body clean. It helps to prevent the spread of germs and is especially important for the disabled who may need help with this task. Grooming is caring for teeth, fingernails and hair. Some of these activities would be styling hair, shaving, trimming and painting fingernails.

Maintaining good health also includes the following areas: nutrition, leisure, recreation, sleep, and exercise. As you can see, there are many factors that contribute to feeling and looking good. Feeling and looking good is important to each individual’s emotional and physical wellbeing.

If you are disabled it can be a challenge with upper body tasks such as brushing your teeth, applying hand lotion or holding a hairbrush much less tying your shoes, or cutting your meat with a knife or even using a pair of scissors.

If you have a disability that involves your feet or legs, you may find it difficult to get in and out of the bathtub or have a manicure or pedicure. There are many personal care aids available for someone who is disabled; hair dryer stands, toothpaste squeezers, lotion applicators, one-handed nail clippers and self-inspection mirrors are just a few of the items that a person with a disability might use to perform self-grooming activities.

I would think that one of the most frustrating things for many people with a disability is the loss of independence. Everyone wants to look their best but it’s difficult to look your best when you can’t brush your teeth, comb your hair or have proper hygiene. There are many grooming equipment items that can help you with everyday grooming so you can take care of these things for yourself so you have a feeling of independence and you don’t have to rely on someone to help you with these tasks. There are many health aspects to good hygiene. It makes you feel good to be neat and clean and gives a feeling of self-worth.

I came up with a list of these items on the website mentioned below:

A stand for your hair dryer could be a useful item if you have trouble holding onto items. This item could provide a semblance of normalcy and allow you to do this task for yourself. Hair brushes for the disabled that have an extended handle helps those who are unable to reach that far. They often come in 12 or 14 inches in length. Brushing your hair regularly helps stimulate the circulation in the scalp.

If you are unable to grasp a regular hair brush due to limited hand strength or arthritis, there are universal hand clips that you can stick to the hair brush. One side will velcro to the brush and the other is a clip that you put over your hand.

Taking care of your eyes is important. Getting the eyedropper to drop directly in the center of your eye without blinking can be difficult but eyedropper guides make it much easier. The guide fits over your eye and prevents your eye from blinking. No more missing and hitting the eyelid.

Good dental hygiene not only prevents tooth decay, it can promote overall health by preventing gingivitis, or gum disease. There are toothpaste squeezers that can help.

Feet scrubbers that can be attached to the shower floor and can remove dirt and dead skin when you move your feet back and forth.

Dry skin is uncomfortable and more likely to become irritated or break down under pressure, so the ability to apply lotion is important.

If you need access to products for people with a disability there are grooming aids readily available from on-line specialty stores and internet sites. There are many handicap grooming aids out there and it is almost certain you will find one that will meet your needs.

Is It Fair to Keep a Severely Disabled Child Alive?

Most are aware of the baby who died in England this week after appeals by the parents who fought to keep him alive. The facts are what were they really trying to achieve? While no one wants to see their infant taken surely one must look to the future to understand the life that one would live. There is also the question of who would look after him when the parents are no longer in a position to provide for him?

In New South Wales there is a huge reaction to the government’s decision to privatise group homes in which severally disabled people are housed. This presents the other side of the debate.

Handicapped children are usually placed in homes designed to look after them. Parents on the average can’t cope with the demands of such a child, let alone when he or she grows into adulthood.

The weight of a handicapped person who has no ability to move without support and cannot even use a toilet without help is impossible for aging parents to manage. They are dependent on providers who can deal with this. So why are these people allowed to live when death in early life would, surely, be a better option?

Religious principles are at stake here if children are allowed to die because of a handicap. Then there is the measure of disability and the arguments of right and wrong would stir the population even further. One can see that by the level of support from the public for the parents of the above mentioned child who died just before his first birthday.

This is an issue communities need to come to terms with especially as the cost of long-term care for such people is growing out of proportion. The bottom line is what kind of life does such a person live. If there is no possibility of a life beyond requiring someone to do every task for them is it such a bad thing for the parents to surrender them to their fate.

Keeping children alive on life support and being caught up in the emotions of the moment is not practical. The question is who is to decide when life is not worth living? It is surely too big an issue for even a court to rule over. It takes this into the realm of mercy killing and the awful consequences of thinking one has made a mistake. This is a test for all and only when one knows all the circumstances can such a decision be made.

Fabrication and the Developmentally Disabled

Fabrication is defined as a person making a deliberately false and improbable account of situation. Almost every adult in the world will say lying is wrong and inappropriate. Moreover, the same adults will tell children that they will be punished for lying. However, when it comes to protecting someone’s feelings, evading trouble or using imagination, some people can find themselves lying unconsciously. Whether male or female, occasional lying can be considered harmless depending on the situation. Due to the fact that it is a human trait and primarily used to influence the way a person is viewed by others, fabricating stories are very common in today’s society. Fabrication is deceptive but not always meant to hurt other people. Specifically, when a person fabricates they are protecting themselves from any consequences or embarrassment from telling the truth. A person may fabricate a story to avoid looking irresponsible, avoid conflict, to shift blame to someone else or for selfish reasons.

In society, individuals with disabilities have to manage limitations of physical ability, cognitive ability and IQ level. Conversely, some individuals with disabilities show a tendency to fabricate for similar reasons as other people. Furthermore, fabrication by individual with disabilities can be characterized as a defensive mechanism due to their ailment or environment. Another reason why an individual with disabilities may fabricate would be to make an allegation of abuse or mistreatment. Those individuals with an extensive history of fabrication may not think of lying as being inappropriate and commit the act out of necessity. Quality of care, choices, adaptable environment and the circle of support are essential components in the life of an individual with disabilities. For those reasons, there are many policies and regulations implement to not only protect but monitor that person’s life. In essence, a person with a disability is entitled to the best care that can be provided. It is important for healthcare providers not to discriminate against these individuals however it is also important for these individuals to be aware of the difference between right and wrong. Within organizations specializing in developmental disabilities regulated by the state government, fabrication incidents are to be investigated without prejudice regardless of the person’s history.

The rationale for fabrication by individuals with disabilities can be somewhat disputed. In some cases, the individuals feel they deserve special treatment due to their circumstances and anything less is unacceptable. In other cases, individuals can be deceptive, vindictive and relish the opportunity to get others in trouble. Moreover, there are techniques that can health professionals manage fabrication allegations. In order to encourage the truth, a health professional should initially teach the person through social skills training about the importance of honesty and how being dishonest can affect a reputation. It is also imperative that the individual learn not to justify their actions due to circumstances, manipulation, and dislike of staff, peer or family members. Accountability is also a human trait but not a common trait therefore lessons of responsibility should also be the focal point of the social skills training.

In any case, an individual with disabilities should not be made to feel guilty or ashamed for fabricating but educated about the social consequences of their actions. It is not the position of a health professional to initially determine if the individual is lying but rather what is the reason behind the lie. If fabrication is considered to be a challenging or problematic behavior for the individual then counseling should be implemented immediately. Fabrication can become an area of concern but not a crisis issue if controlled with a proactive psychological approach.