Governor defends son’s Social Security benefits

by Staff | December 9th, 2011

Arizona’s governor says that she is troubled that her adult son’s mental illness is again in the news, reports The Republic.

She had recently been told by her lawyer that the investigation was closed. A U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny that the U.S. Attorney’s Office had investigated payment of $75,000 of benefits to her son.

The governor “has been in regular communication with the Social Security Administration [SSA], and the governor has actively filled out paperwork, emailed and called at every step,” a spokesman said Thursday. “Because of that, she has no doubt that the SSA has always had full knowledge of [her son’s] circumstances, whereabouts and resulting eligibility status.”

Her son, now 48, has been hospitalized in the state mental hospital for most of the past two decades. The federal law was changed in 1995 to bar Social Security payments to anyone institutionalized after being found not guilty by reason of insanity.

A chart on the agency’s website related to benefits for people acquitted by reason of insanity was not clear on how it might apply to the governor’s son’s case.

To the family’s knowledge, the governor said, “my son has never received any Social Security benefits to which he was not entitled.”

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