Last week brought disturbing news about the Philadelphia arrests of four people who were imprisoning four mentally disabled people in a basement crawl space in order to cash their Social Security Disability checks. Now that the news has settled in — and the abusers have been jailed and the disabled persons are being treated — some advocates for the disabled are saying they’re not surprised that this happened.
Clinical psychologist Nora Baladerian, who works with disabled crime victims in Los Angeles, told the Associated Press, “Anyone with a cognitive impairment is a walking target [for Social Security fraud]. It’s not just the money. It’s sexual abuse. It’s physical assault.”
Baladerian also said that police can find it difficult to communicate with the disabled, thus making it more challenging to pursue crimes involving disabled victims. But that’s no excuse, she says.
“It’s no more of a challenge than dealing with elder abuse or children, who have difficulty talking like adults,” Baladerian said. “And you’re a cop. You can go to Social Security and see who’s cashing that check.”
How might the Social Security Administration better protect its beneficiaries from fraud?
If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.
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