(The Center Square) – The indictment of a Pennsylvania truck driver accused of collecting more than $200.00 in Social Security disability benefits is part of a nationwide problem estimated at $3 billion.
the charge, submitted the US District Court, charges Dwayne Bent with eight counts of wire transfer fraud and one count of Social Security fraud. The Federal Ministry of Transport has investigated.
In 2017, Bent was approved for disability benefits and received them from March 2017 to August 2019, collecting more than $200,000 during that time. However, Bent passed two DOT medical exams and worked as a truck driver while collecting payments. He was able to hide his employment from the Social Security Administration.
A similar case in 2021, where a professional driver falsely claimed disability for defrauding the SSA led to a five-year probation along with more than $80,000 to be paid in restitution.
Social security fraud is a national problem. The SSAs last half year report noted that from October 2021 to March 2022, its Office of Investigations received nearly 123,000 allegations of fraud, and nearly 26,000 allegations related to the disability insurance program alone.
The Office of Investigation estimated $90 million in “monetary performance,” including restitution, fund recovery, fines and estimated savings, and nearly 300 criminal convictions for fraud.
A recent conviction came from January, when an Erie woman pleaded guilty to receive $128,000 in disability benefits for 12 years. She collected the benefits on behalf of her father, but he died and she continued to withdraw the fund.
A estimate 2016 placed inappropriate Social Security payments at $3 billion a year. The problem comes from the size of the Social Security program. While $3 billion is a significant number, the SSA paid out over $1 trillion up to 70 million beneficiaries in 2018. lawyers to argue that fraud is rare, but the sheer size means that a little fraud can go a long way.
That fraud amount is separate from Pennsylvania unemployment fraud and COVID-19 payment fraud, such as The Center Square previously reported. Those numbers can run into the hundreds of billions of dollars nationally.
For unemployment fraud in Pennsylvania, the Department of Labor and Industry had 33,000 outstanding fraud cases in June that were more than a month old. The department pointed to a labor shortage that prevented them from making up the backlog.