Millions of people apply to receive Social Security disability benefits in the United States each year. While most of these disability applicants are deserving, some people complete SSD applications with the intent to make a fraudulent claim. Fraudsters beware individuals found guilty of Social Security disability fraud face stiff penalties.
Social Security Disability Fraud Defined
Social Security disability fraud happens anytime an attempt to receive unwarranted disability benefits from the Social Security administration takes place. An unwarranted disability benefit is any payment that would not be possible without providing false information or taking fraudulent action. This fraud can be the result of a solo action or happen when two or more people conspire to commit fraud. There are even cases when disability fraud includes an agent working for the SSA.
The following examples represent some of the most common Social Security disability fraud attempts.
Filing an Untrue SSD Application
SSD fraud attempts often include entering false information when building an SSD claim . One common practice from fraudulent applicants is inflating monthly income. Individuals that misrepresent their monthly pay on disability applications are doing so to secure a higher monthly benefit from the SSA.
Proving False Medical Information
Another way fraudsters attempt to receive benefit payments they don’t deserve from the SSA is by providing false information regarding an applicant’s medical history. This scam often includes a real illness that becomes exaggerated in an attempt to demonstrate the inability to work. When this type of fraud happens with the help of a medical professional, both participants are guilty of fraud.
Withholding Information From the Social Security Administration
It is required by law for SSD recipients to notify the SSA of any changes in their condition. A failure to do so constitutes Social Security fraud. Charges of fraud are relevant whether the withholding of information is intentional or not. Many times, disability recipients will intentionally withhold information that may lower or eliminate the benefits they receive.
An example of this is a patient suffering from kidney failure that needs Dialysis is a treatment for,keeping your system chemically balanced multiple times each week. If this patient receives a kidney transplant, dialysis may not be necessary any longer. Fraud charges are applicable if the patient does not report this change in their status to the SSA.
Failure to Disclose a Change in Employment
Substantial gainful activity is the term used to refer to the salary threshold that disqualifies an individual from receiving Social Security disability benefits. This gainful activity can be work performed for an employer or contract work the individual does on his or her own.
One action that is common among scammers is not reporting the money they receive in cash for work-related activities. Failure to report a change in employment status or the money earned from working to the SSA for any reason is evidence of Social Security disability fraud.
Failure to Provide Death Notification
It is not uncommon for a family member or another person to continue cashing disability checks sent to individuals after they are deceased. This action is also SSD fraud. A spouse may be eligible for survivors’ benefits when a disabled person passes. However, withholding the fact that a disability benefits recipient is dead to facilitate the continued receipt of money is a crime that can result in consequences.
The Social Security Administration provides financial assistance to Americans who are unable to provide a living for themselves due to injury or illness. The SSA discovers many fraudulent disability applications each year. Filing an SSD application in error is a violation whether it is done on purpose or is the result of an accident. The examples above describe some of the most common ways people commit Social Security disability fraud.