Recently on our legal forum a user asked, I am an honest person but I have to admit the disability process has me a bit confused. I have heard that you can get in serious trouble for defrauding the Social Security Administration. Can you tell me what the most common mistakes people make and when you can be charged with a crime for committing Social Security disability fraud?
Social Security disability fraud is a very serious problem costing the federal government and US citizens millions of dollars a year. While most claimants are honest, there are a percentage of people who commit various deceitful and illegal activities to receive additional disability compensation or money they are not entitled to receive.
Most common types of Social Security disability fraud
Most claimants can avoid committing Social Security disability fraud simply by providing accurate information to the SSA about their living arrangements, income, medical conditions, marital status and whether or not they are working. Lets take a look at the most common ways that individuals commit Social Security disability fraud.
Disability applicants make false claims on their disability application.
Social Security disability fraud starts by making false claims on a disability application. This can include making false statements about the status and severity of their condition, misrepresenting their marital status, falsifying their income information, failing to report that they are in jail, failing to notify the SSA that a SSA beneficiary has died, or failing to notify the SSA that they have returned to work.
Remember, when you are completing your application you are giving your word that all of the information you are providing is correct to the best of your knowledge. If you make statements that are misleading or untrue, this can be considered a crime.
Misusing the funds of a disability applicant.
Individuals who have been assigned as the representative payee for another disability recipient have the moral responsibility to use SSDI and SSI proceeds to meet the essential needs of the recipient (i.e. food, clothing, shelter, utilities, medical care, dental care and personal hygiene). If they fail to do this, this could be considered Social Security disability fraud.
Crimes involving SSA employees
Any attempt to bribe or impersonate a SSA employee is illegal. For example, there have been instances when SSA employees have been bribed to provide certain benefits or government services to applicants. The SSA takes all charges of employee misconduct very seriously.
Most disability applicants and recipients suffer from severe health conditions and simply want the disability benefits they are entitled to receive. Unfortunately, however, there are dishonest individuals who lie, cheat, and steal to get benefits they do not deserve.
If you are convicted of Social Security disability fraud, you can be fined up to $10,000, incarcerated for up to 15 years, or both, depending on the law you violated. You do not have to have received disability funds to be convicted of Social Security Disability fraud.