The Chatter: Disability fraud probe takes Senate investiagtors and "60 Minutes" into Kentucky

10/07/2013 10:29 AM

Waste, fraud and abuse within the Federal Disability Insurance Program has caught the attention of a high-ranking U.S. Senator and brought the news program “60 Minutes” to Kentucky and West Virginia to investigate.

A report titled Disability, USA by 60 Minutes focuses on an investigation started by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, into the program that was started in the 1950s as a safety net for a small group of permanently ill or injured Americans. However, as “60 Minutes” reports, the Federal Disability Insurance Program serves nearly 12 million people with a budget of $135 billion.

Coburn told “60 Minutes” that disability payments are keeping the border area of Kentucky and West Virginia afloat economically. Between 10 percent and 15 percent of the people in the area, or more than a quarter million receive disability. Those figures represent three times the national average.

The program points to one lawyer and a disability judge who together have awarded half a billion dollars in lifetime benefits to more than 1,800 people.

Watch the portion of the report on Kentucky and West Virginia here:

Each new case of disability costs taxpayers $300,000. A U.S. Senate committee hearing on the issue is scheduled for Monday.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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