Fox's Disability Insurance Fraud “Shocker” Falls Flat

Fox News inflated the threat of fraud in the Utah disability benefits program, stoking fears that fraud is rampant even though it amounts to less than 1 percent of the entire benefits program in the state. 

On April 10, the Social Security Administration announced that Utah's attorney general and the Social Security inspector general's office identified 368 cases of alleged fraud in the state, and 157 of the people accused of fraud were denied their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit claims as a result.

Fox & Friends trumpeted this finding on April 11, with co-host Gretchen Carlson saying that “you've got to wonder if every state did this and had somebody look into the alleged fraud that's going on in our social security disability system, that there would be a lot of money to come up that might be helpful when we're discussing the budget.” Fox displayed the following graphic during the segment:

On April 11, Fox Nation similarly stoked the fear of SSDI fraud based on the findings of the Utah attorney general and the Social Security inspector general's office:

In fact the Utah attorney general's finding proved that fraud is not a major problem with SSDI in Utah. According to the latest available data, there are 48,777 SSDI recipients in Utah. 157 cases of fraud only amounts to only .3 percent of all recipients.

Indeed the Utah attorney general's finding that there are only a few cases of SSDI fraud in Utah confirmed that fraud in SSDI is a very small problem. A March 2012 Government Accountability Office report found that the improper payments from the Social Security Administration program that includes disability insurance totaled 0.6 percent in fiscal year 2011.

Moreover, SSDI eligibility requirements are stringent with more than half of all claims being denied.