ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) – You may remember when Pam Hupp ran from Fox 2 cameras. It was during a time when she said she was collecting $800 a month in disability. Now she’s charged with murdering a man with disabilities and Fox 2 has learned she could continue getting government pay for another year.
Hupp’s disability featured prominently in a January 2016 civil court case. The 2016 case involved a lawsuit brought by Betsy Faria’s daughters. The daughters were suing to recover their mother’s life insurance proceeds that went to Hupp. Hupp has never been named a suspect in Betsy’s murder and the courts said she could keep the $150,000 in life insurance money.
“It was my money,” Hupp infamously said in a deposition.
Viewers have been asking whether Hupp may also be getting Social Security money in jail. Hupp’s always been vocal about her inability to work.
“I have traumatic brain injury and concussion syndrome from accidents,” she said during the civil trial. “That’s why I’m on disability.”
At that time, Hupp said she received $800 a month. However, she didn’t want to talk on camera about it. Outside of court, her husband grabbed the lens while Hupp ran and didn’t stop running until deep into the parking garage.
Fox 2 asked disability attorney Don Kohl whether that could’ve stopped Hupp’s disability checks.
“(Investigators) wouldn’t rely solely on that, but it would certainly be the type of thing that could trigger them and begin an investigation,” Kohl said.
Kohl said Social Security has become more aggressive in examining claims and looking for fraud. However, the results of an investigation would be a private record. Only Hupp would know, unless it was prosecuted in criminal court. Fox 2 contacted Hupp’s attorneys, but did not hear back.
“Those slices of time may or may not tell the whole story. On the other hand, the video you talked about may be an example of where it does accurately portray their ability to do things on a regular basis,” Kohl said.
Kohl said if Hupp kept her $800 monthly disability checks after the video of her running, then the government wouldn’t cease payment after her murder charge and incarceration.
“She could certainly still be receiving that disability benefit awaiting a trial or a plea,” he said.
Kohl said it might be different if it were supplementing income. However, Kohl said Hupp’s description of the Social Security she receives tells him it’s based on her work record.
“If you paid into that system, then they pay you that check no matter what your income level is. If Bill Gates had a heart attack tomorrow, they would send him a disability check,” Kohl said.
He said she can keep collecting unless she’s convicted.
Hupp’s trial date was just pushed back to next April, giving her another 10 months before she’ll face a jury.
“They have a whole series of guidelines and regulations as to when is a conviction really a conviction and what happens while it’s on appeal and so on; but ordinarily if you’re awaiting trial, you can receive those benefits,” Kohl said.
Kohl said if Hupp is convicted, it would be up to her to report it, which can be a problem since those Social Security checks are directly deposited. The government may have no way of knowing they’re paying a convict. He said the incentive to disclose a conviction is great, because the alternative could mean stiff federal penalties for the convict and any accomplice who helps collect the money.