Tag Archives: cognitive deficit

Dear Uncle Ervin,

bigstock-Brass-Town-Hall-Sign-On-A-Door-1960540 An article at townhall.com, by Mike “Mish” Shedlock entitled Want to Get on the Disability Gravy Train?  There’s an App For That printed a letter from a reader:

Hi Mish,

I have a niece and nephew in their early thirties.  Both are perfectly healthy.  They have a son bigstock-Happy-Family-24684179with a slight learning disability.  The mom got him on disability and then applied for funds to take care of him and got it.  Her husband, an Afghanistan vet in supply never saw a moment’s action.  He worked at a desk.  When he came home he applied for disability claiming Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and got on disability.  The wife then applied for money to take care of him.  She got it.  They are also on a long list of other entitlements like welfare.

They bought a new house a little over a year ago and a month ago they both went out and bought two brand new cars!  She actually brags about playing the system.

I have no doubt there are hundreds of thousands or millions doing the same thing.  Needless to say it boils my blood.


If I could be so bold, I would like to interject myself into this communication … I would like to say:

Dear Uncle Ervin,  bigstock-Fraud-22749755

Your letter reveals an astonishing array of facts that, if true, indicate you have important personal knowledge of someone committing fraud ongoingly.

While your letter never mentions Social Security disability, but just “disability,” if it is Social Security disability, Social Security’s Office of Inspector General would like to hear from you.   The hyperlink I have provided, takes you to the relevant page on how you can report the alleged, ongoing fraudulent activity.

Social Security’s Office of Inspector General makes reporting such potentially fraudulent actions easy, safe, and secure.   You can reach them online, by telephone, mail, or by fax.   For your convenience I have provided the relevant numbers:

U.S. Mail:  
Social Security Fraud Hotline
PO Box 17785
Baltimore, Maryland  21235

(800) 269-0271 – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
*If you do not reach an attendant, please call (800) 772-1213, which is Social Security’s general number.  Tell the attendant there your information, and it will be relayed to the Office of Inspector General.

(410) 597-0118

You may report allegedly fraudulent activities anonymously, however if you choose to remain anonymous, please give very complete information because an investigator would not be able to contact you for further or clearer information should they need it.

Whether you remain anonymous or not, your report and identity will be kept confidential upon your request.

It is understandable that this boils your blood, but it is bigstock-Crime-watch-zone-18522968important that you do more than simply write an email to a columnist at townhall.com.

Social Security disability benefits are extremely important for those who need them.  When these programs are abused it is a very serious matter.

I strongly urge that you do not remain in collusion with your niece and nephew, and that you report their alleged fraud to the proper authorities.

Thank you for being a concerned citizen!

With respect,


But wait … just one more thing … ….

Uncle Ervin’s letter is pretty breezy on the details.   It refers vaguely to “disability,” but doesn’t mention which disability program – Social Security?  VA?   It references an unnamed state’s programs for supporting caregivers of disabled people.   It mentions new houses and cars, but there’s no mention of how long it took to receive “disability.”   Was it years?   It normally takes years and years and years.

bigstock-Match-Box-with-used-matches-am-21975974The letter is an unpleasant confusion, but does reliably set sparks to the tinderbox.  The letter does serve that purpose well.

Uncle Ervin, I would like you to know that what I learn about my clients while representing them in a disability matter is quite intimate.   I learn some embarrassing facts about my clients.

I’ve had friends ask me to represent them, but  I always refer them to another attorney.   I want my friends and family members to be able to retain their privacy, their dignity.  I want them to be able to present to me their public face and public self revealing to me what they want of their mental and physical failings on their own terms.

This may be what you are seeing in your niece and nephew – what they carefully present to family – especially extended family.   Bragging about “playing the system” might be cover for some humiliating tidbits they do not run out at the family reunion.

When people tell me of folks they “know” are committing fraud, I give the information they need to report the activity.   These are important programs and they do need watchdogging.   Granted.

Mostly, the person backpedals, declining actually to report the matter presumably because they know in their heart of hearts they don’t know what they’re talking about.   Reporting is not mere gossip that makes you feel as if you’re in the know about the complexities of other people’s lives.

Established journalists, columnists, and bloggers receive lots of correspondence from people – naysayers and yaysayers alike.  Printing such correspondence, when it serves merely to shore bigstock-Nerd-Expressing-Doubt-20661956up stereotypic thinking, and ignite anger, but doesn’t offer anything worthwhile … hmmm.

It does fill space.  I will give you that.