Disability Claims

Eric Conn Goes On The Lam

About a month before he was to be sentenced for Social Security disability fraud, former attorney Eric Conn disappeared, and his lawyer says that the FBI is "ramping up" its efforts to bring him in. The FBI has few clues, other than a discarded ankle monitor on Interstate 75 and a few items seized from searches of residents and businesses connected with Mr. Conn. Special Agent Amy Hess said the agency was expanding its probe, and investigators are "pursuing all angles as to who might be helping him currently." Mr. Conn's attorney, Scott White, interpreted these comments to mean that the...

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‘Mr. Social Security’ Pleads Guilty To Fraud

Conn’s Hotties are no more, as Eastern Kentucky lawyer Eric Conn admitted in court that he falsified more than 1,700 social security disability applications that are worth as much as $550 million in lifetime benefits.

In 2011, a whistleblower first drew attention to the long-running scam, which included Mr. Conn, a stable of psychologists and doctors (including Alfred Adkins) who filed false reports, and a judge (David Daugherty) who approved the applications without even holding hearings. Mr. Conn, who faces a July sentencing date, has already been ordered to pay $31 million in civil penalties, restitution, and damages; Mr. Adkins and Mr. Daugherty have yet to have their days in court. In court documents, Mr. Conn accused Mr. Daugherty of masterminding the plot, after he allegedly approached Mr. Conn for a $5,000 payment and threaten to deny Mr. Conn’s petitions out of hand if payment wasn’t forthcoming. The two eventually agreed for the judge to receive $400 per approved application. As authorities began to close in, Mr. Conn destroyed most of his records and produced a false video to discredit the whistleblower. So far, government auditors have determined that about half of Mr. Conn’s cases were meritorious. As many as nine people committed suicide after they learned that their social security disability benefits might be terminated.

SSDI And Gun Control: An Unlikely Tandem

Some Congressional Republicans feel like eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance should not mean ineligibility to own firearms. In the wake of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, former President Barack Obama spearheaded a rule that required the Social Security Administration to report recipients to the FBI. Because this information appeared as negative data in background checks, the rule effectively denied these individuals the right to purchase a firearm. Earlier, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the regulation by a wide margin. In the Senate, lawmakers used the Congressional Review Act to reverse the rule; under...

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VA To Be Mostly Immune From Federal Hiring Freeze

President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats reached a compromise that may affect disability benefits for thousands of veterans, as the Department of Veterans Affairs clarified that the administration-imposed federal hiring freeze would not affect public safety positions.

Acting Secretary Robert Snyder said this phrase is broadly defined to include nurses, doctors, counselors, and most other healthcare jobs. In the past, VA Secretary-designate David Shulkin has echoed this sentiment, calling on the agency to hire more doctors and nurses. Although the VA is still reeling from a 2014 patient wait time scandal, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer initially said that the announced freeze would affect all agencies equally. The disability benefits system is “broken,” he insisted, and “hiring more people isn’t the answer” to helping veterans “get the services that they’ve earned.”

SSI Fraud Allegations Devastate Eastern Ky.

Three people in the area have already committed suicide, now that the federal government has suspended Social Security Disability payments to more than 900 recipients on suspicion of fraud.

In 2012, lawmakers began investigating flamboyant Floyd County lawyer Eric Conn, the self-proclaimed “Mr. Social Security.” Some area residents may remember “Conn’s hotties,” who attended local events with Mr. Conn’s phone number emblazoned on their bikini tops. According to subsequently-filed court documents, Mr. Conn conspired with an administrative law judge and a doctor in more than $600 million in fraudulent claims. Over the years, Mr. Conn collected over $20 million in fees. In 2015, the Social Security Administration unilaterally suspended benefits in all cases that it considered fraudulent; under pressure from lawmakers, the SSA eventually relented and gave these individuals the opportunity to re-claim their benefits. But these re-evaluation hearings are not easy to win, because the government will not release medical records due to privacy laws and Mr. Conn supposedly shredded over 26,000 pounds of social security disability documents prior to his indictment.

Invisible War Wounds

Before World War I, all the world’s armies used picric acid in their cannons and shells, a compound similar to the one common in modern-day fireworks. In 1902, the German army became the first military force to use TNT, and for the most part, TNT is still in use today. So, the difference between a battle in 1900 and one in 1914 is like the difference between visiting a Fourth of July fireworks show and a free-fire zone in Iraq or Afghanistan.