Earlier this week, police arrested a man named Raymond Pompey in Peekskill, New York for trying to steal his deceased cousin’s identity to commit Social Security disability fraud – Pompey’s case has many in the North Carolina Social Security disability community concerned. Could other people be trying to bilk the system, like Pompey ostensibly did? If so, might that have a negative impact that redounds to harm those who need these crucial benefits to pay bills, fund medical costs, and protect their families during hard times?
Before we get to these bigger questions, let’s review a little bit what happened in the Pompey case. According to various news reports, the 48-year-old Pompey last year got a Maryland drivers license by applying for the license in his cousin’s name. Earlier this year, he pulled the same stunt in New York State and then went to the Social Security Office for the purpose of collecting his cousin’s SSD payments. Thanks to the work of two NYSP investigators, Shawn Morgan and Kelly Pawlak, Pompey’s scheme got busted up. He has been slapped with a variety of felony charges, including:
• Falsifying business records
• First degree ID theft
• First degree providing false instrument for filing
• Two first degree counts of falsifying business records
• Two second degree forgery counts
It took a multi-jurisdictional investigation to pin down Pompey for forgery, ID theft, and the other fraud charges discussed above.
Pompey’s story will no doubt spark powerful emotions from those who depend on North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits to survive. But it’s important to place the story in some kind of context. When you need money to live, and you read about someone blatantly breaking into the program that supports you for devious ends, it’s easy to find your blood boiling and imagine the problem to be worse than it actually is.
In reality, many different factors siphon energy and money from the SSD program and make it less efficient and less useful for beneficiaries. And while fraud certainly contributes to the degradation of the program’s integrity, it’s not the only problem – nor is it probably even the biggest problem.
All that said, it’s easy to get lost in philosophical discussions about how to fix Social Security disability – that is, to make it more responsive, less bureaucratically ensnared, more “fair” to recipients, etc.
If you’re in the middle of wrestling with a benefits question – for instance, if you have been unfairly denied benefits or you’re simply confused about how to file efficiently – a qualified North Carolina Social Security disability law firm can give you guidance and answers. Given that your physical and financial health may be on the line, you owe it to yourself and your family to do all you can to secure maximal SSD benefits with minimal effort.