Avoiding & Reporting Social Security Disability Fraud
Social Security disability fraud is the process of receiving government payment or benefits due to a person claiming to have some form of disability that prevents him or her from earning income, when a disability does not exist. A social welfare as well as insurance program, Social Security was founded in 1935 and is funded through a special tax paid by wage earners nationwide. The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax pays for Social Security. The most frequent way in which social security disability fraud occurs is when someone collects benefits while maintaining a job outside his or her home. Disability fraud may waste billions of dollars each year making it crucial that this type of fraud is both avoided and reported when suspected.
Reporting Social Security Disability fraud is encouraged by all citizens that may believe they have witnessed the practice. There are several methods available for reporting social security disability fraud but the most accessible is filing a complaint with the Social Security Administration (SSA) or through the Inspector General. Complaints may be filed online as well as through a toll free hotline provided by the Social Security Administration: 1-800-269-0271. Social Security fraud is of great concern to the Federal government and all reports and complaints are investigated thoroughly.
According to a case study involving Social Security Disability fraud, 1 out of 20 United States citizens is disabled and collects Social Security benefits. It should be noted that this type of fraud is a serious crime and may lead to prison time, combined with hefty fines for the perpetrator. Reports of Social Security Disability Fraud may not be so easy to prove, however. Numerous physical and mental conditions may cause someone to become disabled. Some of these disabilities are difficult to see with the visible eye. In order to show that someone has lied to the government and has collected benefits unnecessarily, a person would need to know what type of disability the recipient has claimed. You would also need some clear indication that the recipient is working and collecting or hiding income from the government. Those who suspect a recipient is engaging in Social Security Disability fraud should take
time to perform research and gather as much information as possible before filing a complaint.
Those who report suspected Social Security Disability fraud should prepare to give their personal information to the SSA as well. In addition to filing a complaint through the SSA, citizens may contact the Office of the Inspector General. Be prepared to give your name, address, as well as phone number when making your report. You will need the name and contact information (such as address, phone number, and Social Security number) regarding the subject of the complaint. A full summary of the scam or fraudulent activity you witnessed is crucial for investigators who respond to the report’s claims. The more detailed information you provide, the better chance the government has of stopping scam artists in their schemes.
Another issue to consider is that there are times when someone is legitimately disabled, but decides he or she would like to work. They may find some form of income that does not necessarily mean they are guilty of fraud, but could indicate they are receiving an overpayment of their Social Security Disability benefits. It is important that these cases be looked at as well, and if it is determined that a person is receiving too high of a benefit, it may be subsequently reduced. Those who have lied about a disability they do not have will find themselves in great trouble and they may face multiple years in prison and could be forced to repay the total sum of the benefits. A fine could be added to the fee as well. Those who have been told they are guilty of Social Security Disability fraud would need to seek the advice of a legal attorney as the consequences could prove dire.
Social Security Disability benefits are an important part of ensuring those who are disabled are not doomed to a life of poverty in which he or she cannot pay for their basic needs and care. Those who abuse these programs for selfish reasons not only hurt taxpayers, but also those who legitimately need those funds. If you suspect someone is guilty of Social Security Disability fraud, do not hesitate, contact the SSA, and report it immediately.