Walorski fights to prevent fraud in Social Security system

April 14 marks the 82nd anniversary of Social Security being signed into law, a national program that many Republicans would like to see privatized rather than watch it suffer a slow demise.

The Ways and Means Committee, the oldest standing committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, is responsible for Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits, as well as taxes, tariffs and other revenue-raising sources. During a recent committee hearing, committee member U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) asked what the Social Security Administration was doing to prevent waste, fraud and abuse–some of the problems plaguing the long-running program that she thinks justify it being privatized.

The congresswoman explained that Social Security recipients who are unable to manage their own financial affairs depend on a representative payee to manage their Social Security benefits.

“The vast majority of payees are good people doing an important service, but the reality is there are bad actors out there,” Walorski told The Ripon Advance in emailed remarks.

For instance, the congresswoman said that a woman in her home state was recently sentenced to 15 months in prison for collecting benefits for her disabled child, even though the child had left her custody.

“This kind of fraud is an injustice both to the people who depend on Social Security and to all taxpayers,” said Walorski, who is in her third congressional term.

Thus far, the Ways and Means Committee has held two hearings this year examining the representative payee program and how federal lawmakers can prevent waste, fraud and abuse and strengthen the program to ensure Social Security benefits are getting to the people who need them.

“Our tax code is broken, and it’s holding our economy back,” Walorski said. “I’m working with my colleagues on the House Ways and Means Committee to make our tax code simpler, flatter and more fair.”

Specifically, she said pro-growth tax reform is necessary so that businesses can invest in expanding, building more American-made products and hiring more workers.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to simplify our tax code, lower rates and make American businesses more competitive in the global economy,” she said.