Today we and SSA announced the opening of a new Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) Unit in Detroit, Michigan.
As he prepares to assume the position of Team Leader of the Detroit CDI Unit, Special Agent Bradley Martin—a 15-year OIG veteran—talked about the opportunities he’ll have and challenges he’ll face as he directs this new anti-fraud unit.
Why did you want to take on the role of Team Leader of the Detroit Unit? What will you apply from your career experiences to this new role?
Being the Team Leader for the Detroit CDI Unit provides an opportunity, and a privilege, to be part of the OIG and SSA partnership in fraud detection and prevention. The CDI program is an effective and efficient method in SSA’s campaign against disability fraud and waste. For every dollar spent on CDI, SSA’s disability programs save a projected $16. SSA and the OIG are proactive in preventing medical providers, attorneys, and third-party representatives from assisting claimants in defrauding the disability programs.
My experience has taught me that the greatest work in law enforcement is performed using team concepts involving expertise from a variety of fields. CDI’s success stems from SSA, Disability Determination Services (DDS), OIG, and the local law enforcement partner working well together. We are lucky to have an extraordinary working relationship between the OIG, DDS, SSA, and the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) OIG. I’m excited to apply this team concept, and its countless advantages, to the Detroit CDI Unit.
What are your goals for the Detroit Unit? Do you anticipate any initial challenges?
I intend to apply the best practices of the Cleveland and Chicago CDI Units, which are well respected across the country. However, all states differ in their demographics and population, so we’ll have to adjust and adapt to the specific needs of Michigan. For example, Michigan is still recovering from the recession; we’ve seen a large increase in disability applications in the state. While the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs provide an essential safety net, our stakeholders expect that only the legitimately disabled will receive benefits. I’d like to see an emphasis on fraud referrals generated from continuing disability reviews, in addition to initial claims; I’d also like to seek criminal prosecution of more egregious fraud cases.
I plan to work with the Michigan DDS to decide on our focus and emphasis. Disability examiners are the first line of defense against fraud; they are in a good position to look for patterns and anomalies. Over time, we’ll adopt our own identity that will closely align with the local fraud issues.
Of course, as we adopt a new identity, and begin working as a team, there will be challenges that always arise in a new endeavor. There will be a learning curve for all of us, and normal bumps in the road associated with different agencies and team members working together. Fortunately, our agencies have worked well together in the past, and we have outstanding representatives of SSA, DDS, and the Michigan DHS, so we’ll be well prepared to overcome the challenges.
Why is this an important time for SSA, the OIG, and the Michigan DHS to partner and begin CDI work in the State of Michigan?
SSA is committed to the fight against fraud and waste, which it communicated to Congress earlier this year—and we in the OIG share this goal. The swift establishment of the Detroit CDI Unit demonstrates what happens when SSA and OIG work together. Michigan is also committed to the fight against fraud in these programs, which often involve State as well as Federal monies.
It’s an exciting time when the State, SSA, and OIG can work together, using their individual expertise and resources to achieve their shared goals.
For more information on the CDI program, click here.