Wonder why millions of Americans now receive disability benefits? Wonder no more. Today a House oversight committee will hear from four Social Security judges who dole out disability benefits like water.
Each of the judges approved more than 90 percent of the cases they heard from 2005 to 2013, according to a new report by the Republican staff of the House Oversight Committee. The report says the high approval rates indicate the judges didn’t follow proper procedures or conduct meaningful hearings.
“In essence, these judges rubber stamped nearly every claimant before them for a lifetime of benefits at taxpayer expense,” the report said.
The administrative law judges were scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Oversight Committee.
In written testimony, Judge Gerald I. Krafsur of Kingsport, Tennessee, said he had heard thousands of cases and never had one overturned because the applicant was not disabled.
Judge Harry C. Taylor of Charleston, West Virginia, said he makes it a point to keep an open mind about each case while conducting a balanced, thorough review.
From 2005 to 2013, Krafsur approved 99 percent of the cases he decided, the report said. Lifetime benefits average about $300,000, according to the report, so Krafsur’s cases will lead to nearly $1.8 billion in benefits.
During the same time period, Taylor approved 94 percent of the cases he decided, for nearly $2.5 billion in total benefits, the report said.