Pennsylvania deaf and mute man held hostage for SSDI

Having a disability can make various aspects of life challenging. Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) can provide relief to those who have difficulty earning enough money to live due to a disability.

Unfortunately, people sometimes take advantage of those receiving SSDI, since they may be less capable of defending themselves. One deaf-mute Pennsylvania man suffered at the hands of a man who was after his SSDI checks. Last April, the man offered the deaf-mute man a ride home. Instead, the man kidnapped him and locked him in a basement for four months. The deaf-mute man reported to police that he was very hungry, beaten and threatened while he was locked in the basement.

Police received a tip about the deaf-mute man's location and found him in the basement. Police arrested the man later that day; he faces charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and forgery among other crimes. Apparently, the common-law wife of the charged man had received SSDI checks before she died in March. Perhaps the charged man previously lived off her checks.

This situation points to dangers a person receiving SSDI potentially faces. If a person desperate for money realizes someone receives SSDI, they could decide to take advantage of the disabled person and steal their disability checks.

The charged man probably understood that as long as the deaf and mute man could not escape the basement and did not have any means of contacting anyone, he would be trapped. It is not clear how the man knew the deaf mute man received SSDI. Regardless, as this man's case shows, keeping SSDI private may protect a person from abuse or theft.

Source:, "Pennsylvania man imprisoned, beat disabled victim in home, police say," Sept. 6, 2012

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