Social Security disability payments are intended to help support people whose disability makes it challenging to bring in enough income on which to live. Unfortunately, there are those people who abuse the system with fraudulent behavior. Recently, a man from Northfield, New Hampshire received a sentence of three years of probation and home confinement for six months. What crime did this man commit? He falsely claimed to the Social Security department that he was unable to work due to a disability.
What is Social Security Disability Fraud?
The man in question falsely claimed that he was not able to work since January 1, 2011, due to a medical disability. He made this false claim when applying for disability insurance benefits. To receive Social Security benefits or payments, one must not be able to perform “substantial gainful activity” to earn money.
If you receive Social Security benefits and you start working, you must notify Social Security. It does not matter how much money you are making at your job; you still must notify the office. If you do not tell the office about your paid work, you are considered to be purposefully providing false information. The Social Security office will, in response, stop your benefits. The man in question committed fraud when he told Social Security that he was not working when he applied for benefits even though he was working at the time.
How do Social Security Offices Discover Fraud?
Interestingly, the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles alerted the Social Security office to this disability fraud. During an inspection of his vehicle, the man in question told an employee that he works around 47 hours a week as a mechanic and vehicle inspector. Later, he admitted that he lied to Social Security when speaking to an Office of the Inspector General investigator. The inspector then discovered that he had received benefits for around four years that he was not entitled to because he was in fact able to work.
Social Security has been cracking down on fraudulent Social Security related disability claims. In 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) launched three brand new Cooperative Disability Investigations Units. The SSA claims that fraud is still relatively rare, yet it sends the message they will find and prosecute those who commit social security disability fraud. Private citizens can submit reports about those who are allegedly abusing the Social Security Disability program. The offices then investigate the veracity of those claims.
Do You Have a Disability? You May be Entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits
We should not allow those people who abuse the system to detract from the benefits Social Security disability payments provide to those who need them. Navigating the application process for the Social Security disability can be stressful and complicated. It does not have to be, though.