Jan. 06, 2017
Best of the States
Disability and desperation
When federal prosecutors alleged that Kentucky attorney Eric Conn had funneled $600 million in fraudulent disability claims to Appalachia, Claire Galofaro saw a chance to tell a much bigger story.
Over a period of months, Galofaro, the AP’s administrative correspondent in Louisville, sat in on federal hearings and heard the anguish of Conn’s former clients, some severely disabled, others who seemed like they might be able-bodied enough to be working. She met with many who were being asked to prove their disability years after it had first been approved by the government, forced to go searching for old medical records in order to make a case they thought they had already made.
She learned about three people who killed themselves rather than face the prospect of demonstrating, once again, that they were disabled and unable to work.