Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hill Statement on AG Rutledge's New Cooperative Disability Investigations Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the following statement after Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the formation of the Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) Program:

“I am encouraged by Attorney General Rutledge’s willingness to take action locally on this important issue. As government continues to usher in a new era of increased accountability and smarter management of taxpayer resources, we need better cooperation between federal and state agencies to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. The Attorney General’s announcement of the CDI program ensures we are taking steps to successfully investigate and root out fraud in Social Security disability benefits. I look forward to working with the state to support these efforts to protect taxpayer dollars and provide essential benefits to those individuals with disabilities that need and rely on them.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday announced the creation of the Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigations Program. The new Little Rock-based unit will be paid for by the Social Security Administration and will investigate fraud and potential fraud in disability claims.

Officials said similar efforts already created in 24 other states and Puerto Rico are credited with saving $3.1 billion in Social Security programs and $1.9 billion in other initiatives, including Medicaid.

"I want to send a strong message that Arkansas and Arkansans will not tolerate fraud," Rutledge said. "We will not tolerate those who cheat the system and steal from those who deserve it."

State Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, who Rutledge credited with helping bring the initiative to the state, noted Arkansas' rate of residents receiving disability benefits stands at around 11 percent, well above a national average under 7 percent.

Rutledge said the rate ranks Arkansas among the five states with highest per-capita disability claims received.

"With that high ranking also comes the probability that there are a number of those who are cheating the system and scamming the system," she said. "It's hard to go to a community and talk to folks there about fraud and abuse without someone saying to me, 'Well, let me tell you a story about someone receiving a check who doesn't qualify or doesn't deserve it.'"

Rutledge said investigators will look into "investigating questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers and third parties." She said investigations in other states, for example, turned up disability recipients who claimed not to be able to walk but were then spotted or captured on video out shopping or performing strenuous activities.

Hutchinson called the work an "important initiative" that will help ensure disability benefits go to those who need them.

"We've got to do better," he said. "We've got to protect the integrity of the program."

Tags: Rep French Hill, Arkansas, 2nd Congressional District, Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, Cooperative Disability Investigations Program To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

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