Team Obama is making moves against disability fraud, which has ballooned under its watch during the recent economic downturn. This weekend, the Social Security Administration will improve oversight over 1,500 administrative law judges who had been awarding or denying benefits as they liked, the Wall Street Journal reports:
The agency is rewriting the job descriptions of its judicial corps, allowing officials more latitude to crack down on judges who are awarding disability benefits outside the norm.
Many judges have operated as if they were independent of the agency and awarded or denied benefits based on their own judgments. A few weeks ago, the SSA notified the judges of the changes.
The job descriptions will no longer include the words “complete individual independence,” and will also clarify that the judges are “subject to the supervision and management” of other agency officials, according to a draft reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
This is of course the right move, and past due. But the very fact that a liberal administration is taking this step is a sign that the Social Security system’s troubles are real. The disability system in particular is stretched past its limits and cuts for beneficiaries could soon be on the table as the trust fund runs out.