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Man Who Crashed Into Social Security Office Gets Benefits

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TRAVERSE CITY (AP) – A man who crashed his van into a Social Security office after years of frustration over a disability claim has been approved for benefits, authorities said.

Douglas McCallum, 47, of Kingsley, stands to get about $1,000 a month, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider told the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

McCallum is facing criminal charges for backing his van into the entrance of a Social Security office in Traverse City on July 3. The office was closed when the crash occurred.

At the time, McCallum said he was in a “fit of rage” after years of “being screwed over” by the government over disability claims for a bad back. His mental health is being evaluated after his attorney filed an insanity defense in the criminal case.

Schneider said the disability award won’t affect the criminal case. McCallum is charged with malicious destruction of property, which carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison. His attorney, Janet Mistele, declined to comment.

Robert Simpson, district manager for the Social Security Administration, said claims decision are not made at the northern Michigan office. He told the Record-Eagle he couldn’t discuss McCallum’s case.

“People who are allowed Social Security, we pay them based on their disability factors, and if Mr. McCallum is eligible we would go ahead and pay him,” Simpson said. “Of course, we are always bothered when people get benefits that have harmed other people, but it’s the law.”

He said disability payments typically are suspended if someone is sent to jail or prison. Reinstatement can start the claims process over again.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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