BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It's not directly related to the government shutdown, but there is a government funded program that is about to run out of money. The U.S. Disability Fund could be the first government entitlement program to run out of cash.
A Buffalo judge told Steve Kroft from 60 Minutes that really, it's a lucrative business, and over the past several years people have been abusing the system. Monday, a hearing is scheduled to take place that would be of interest to millions of Americans.
The Federal Disability Insurance Program has a budget larger than the Justice, Labor, and Homeland Security Department combined. But lawmakers say it could be the first government entitlement program to run out of money.
The Social Security Administration says a 20 percent jump in funding over the last six years is due to aging baby boomers and a sluggish economy, but Republican Senator Tom Coburn, a physician, disagrees.
Coburn said, "But my investigation tells me, and my common sense tells me, that we've got a system that's being gamed pretty big right now."
You've probably seen some of the commercials from disability lawyers, looking for new clients. Coburn says there's not much to lose in filing a claim.
Most law offices don't charge you unless you win the appeal, and those lawyers get paid for the win by the federal government. Even a disability judge from Buffalo admits to noticing a scheme.
"If the American public knew what was going on in our system half would be outraged and the other half would apply for benefits," said Judge Marilyn Zahm, of the Association of Administrative Law Judges.
Many people who receive benefits from the disability program do so properly and legally and no gamers are really getting rich from fraudulent claims. The payments account to 1,100 a month.
Hundreds of workers, politicians and residents of Chautauqua County rallied in Dunkirk calling on state regulators to approve plans for NRG to convert and reopen a power plant.
Buffalo police homicide detectives have identified an Eggertsville man who was shot and killed early Saturday morning.
Seventy-two years after the attack that launched the US into World War II, Western New Yorkers remembered the fatal day at Pearl Harbor Hawaii.
Volunteers at Buffalo’s Salvation Army created holiday cards and gift bags for the seniors at the Golden Age Center.
Buffalo Police have arrested 26-year-old Nicholas Finnegan of South Buffalo and charged him with pushing Russ Ross to his death.
The abandoned puppy in the Town of Evans was actually turned in by the dog's owner.