CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s disability fraud partnership has reached a new milestone in the most recent quarter – achieving approximately $7.6 million in total savings during its first 21 months of operation.

The partnership generated nearly $1.8 million in projected savings for state and federal governments during the third quarter of 2017. That pushed the unit’s total savings to nearly $7.6 million since its inception.

“The return we have seen from this partnership has been remarkable,” Morrisey said. “As our effort continues to gain momentum, rooting out fraud and waste will remain a top priority for my office and should be a major concern for government in general.”

The Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit, a partnership with the Social Security Administration, investigates suspicious or questionable disability claims. It investigates beneficiaries, claimants and any third party who facilitates fraud.

The unit’s findings help disability examiners make informed decisions and ensure payment accuracy, while also equipping state and federal prosecutors with the facts needed to secure a conviction. This, in turn, generates significant savings for taxpayers.

CDI Units help resolve questions of potential fraud, in many instances, before benefits are ever paid. The Attorney General’s Office joined the program in December 2015, making it a first-of-its-kind unit for the Mountain State.

The West Virginia unit joins two investigators and an analyst from the Attorney General’s Office with representatives from SSA, its Office of the Inspector General and the state’s Disability Determination Section.

Nationally, the CDI program is one of the most successful anti-fraud initiatives with regard to federal disability programs. It operates 40 units covering 34 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Morrisey also has asked the Legislature to transfer West Virginia’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit from the state Department of Health and Human Resources to his office. In fact, 43 of 50 units nationwide are housed within the state attorney general’s office. Morrisey says such a move would fix deficiencies in West Virginia’s existing unit and yield greater efficiency and effectiveness to the benefit of the taxpayer.

Members of the public are asked to report suspected disability fraud to the Social Security Fraud Hotline at https://oig.ssa.gov/report; send U.S. Mail to PO Box 17768, Baltimore, MD, 21235; fax (410) 597-0118; or call (800) 269-0271.

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