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Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal

Abstract

Since 2003, the Oakland, California unit of Social Security's Cooperative Disability Investigations program has targeted certain Cambodian refugee applicants with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression for fraud investigations. The practices of Social Security's anti-fraud program in Oakland reveal disturbing disadvantages to Cambodian refugee applicants in particular, including institutional prejudices in Social Security's rules and Cooperative Disability Investigative agents' gross insensitivity to claimants' impairments and cultural realities. This note examines these disadvantages under the legal norms of national origin discrimination, disability discrimination, and due process, and concludes with a policy proposal on how Social Security might better protect claimants' rights and interests while ensuring the integrity of its anti-fraud efforts.

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