Just take cheating seriously

Perhaps Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation investigators ought to take their “show” on the road – to Washington.

Earlier this month, we reported the Workers’ Compensation investigators have an impressive record: During the investigative unit’s 20-year history, it has caught enough cheaters to save the program about $1.5 billion. That has been accomplished by providing proof of false claims.

But members of Congress learned last week the Social Security program made about $1 billion in improper payments to cheaters during a period of slightly more than two years. Government Accountability Office investigators said the money went to about 36,000 people who claimed they were eligible for disability benefits – but actually had jobs.

Federal officials defended the record by noting the false claims represented fewer than 1 percent of Social Security disability beneficiaries and less than 1 percent of payments made through the program.

Social Security officials responded to the GAO study by questioning whether the agency overestimated the amount of overpayments. In other words, Social Security officials seem as eager to question the accuracy of a government watchdog agency as to catch disability cheaters.

Perhaps members of Congress should be talking with officials in Ohio and other places where cheating the government is taken seriously.