"Adult Baby" Investigated By Social Security For Fraud

Illustration for article titled Adult Baby Investigated By Social Security For Fraud

Sen. Tom Coburn has asked the Social Security Administration to look into 30-year-old Stanley Thornton Jr.—a man who lives most of his life as an "adult baby"—and his roommate, Sandra Dias—who acts as Thornton's "mother"—saying it's not clear why they are collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits instead of working.

After seeing the pair on an episode of National Geographic's Taboo, Sen. Coburn wrote a letter to Inspector General Patrick P. O'Carroll Jr. saying:

Given that Mr. Thornton is able to determine what is appropriate attire and actions in public, drive himself to complete errands, design and custom-make baby furniture to support a 350-pound adult and run an Internet support group, it is possible that he has been improperly collecting disability benefits for a period of time.


On the show, Thornton was seen going to a hardware store, completing DIY carpentry projects (the latest being a large high chair), and running a website—on which he requests donations—with his roommate Dias. Sen. Coburn suggests that both adults demonstrated that they are skilled enough to hold down a job and therefore are ineligible for SSI, pointing out that Dias, a former nurse, is able to "provide childcare."

In an email to The Washington Times, Thornton said that his carpentry skills were over-exaggerated on Taboo and threatened to commit suicide, should his benefits be cut off:

You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don't care. I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.

Senator questions benefits to ‘adult baby' [Washington Times]

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Have been turning over and over in my mind why this story bothers me so much (since I could give two shakes what people do, as long as it isn’t hurting someone else), and here it is: it’s the hubris and lack of judgment he showed by appearing in front of the TV cameras. He’s proud of his lifestyle – fine with me, but he’s not funding it, so his ‘owning’ his babyhood is pretty hollow. Second: there are so many people with disabilities who struggle every day to live a life that is as close to normal as possible, who do their best to be survive, be self-sufficient and show that their disabilities should not be something that sets them apart or limits them. This guy’s story is "look at me" culture at its worst. Now everyone’s looking and guess what – some of the scrutiny is unpleasant. I don’t know this guy’s back story, or wish harsh consequences on him by any means, but he’s the one that turned on the bright lights, and his threatening response is showing something pretty nasty at work. Hard to be sympathetic.