Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senate Votes to Stop Making Unsupervised Payments to Addicts

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senate Votes to Stop Making Unsupervised Payments to Addicts

Article excerpt

The Senate voted Wednesday to stop unsupervised cash payments to drug addicts and alcoholics who are using Social Security disability benefits to feed their habits.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. William S. Cohen, R-Maine, was unanimously approved as an amendment to legislation that would make the Social Security Administration an independent agency. The overall bill also passed.

Cohen said a yearlong investigation by the Republican staff of the Senate Aging Committee found a Denver bar that had got checks totaling $160,000 on behalf of several Social Security recipients.

The investigation found that addicts were using their benefits to feed their habits, and some had even died or overdosed with drugs purchased with federal tax dollars.

The Social Security Administration now spends $1.4 billion a year on cash benefits to 250,000 adults who are on the disability rolls either solely because of their substance abuse or because they have another long-term disabling condition as well as an addiction. …

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