Estimated Costs of Malingered Disability

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2013 Nov;28(7):633-9. doi: 10.1093/arclin/act038. Epub 2013 Jun 25.


The feigning of disabling illness for the purpose of disability compensation, or "malingering," is common in Social Security Disability examinations, occurring in 45.8%-59.7% of adult cases. In this study, we estimated the costs of malingering based on mental disorder data published by the Social Security Administration. At the most widely accepted base rate of malingering in medicolegal cases involving external incentive, costs were high, totaling $20.02 billion in 2011 for adult mental disorder claimants. Moreover, these figures clearly underestimate the costs of the larger problem with feigned disability in both adults and children. We urge a change in Social Security policies to allow the use of validity testing in the examination for disability claims.

Keywords: Disability/handicaps; Forensic neuropsychology; Intelligence; Malingering/symptom validity testing; Motivation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malingering / diagnosis
  • Malingering / economics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Security / economics*
  • United States