Stay On The Safe Side: Avoiding Social Security Fraud

Posted on: 6 November 2015


If you are unable to work because of illness or injury, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance. The SSA (Social Security Administration) provides monthly benefit payments to those who qualify. To qualify for benefits, you must have worked enough and paid into the system and your medical condition must be adjudged severe enough by the SSA. The application process for Social Security can be confusing and complex, sometimes leading to misunderstandings and mistakes on your application. You can easily run afoul of the SSA if they suspect you of committing fraud in order to obtain benefits. Read on for the most common issues that could get you in trouble with the SSA.

1.  Exaggerating your symptoms and making false statements to medical personnel or mental health professionals. This often occurs with mental health claims such as PTSD, anxiety and depression since these types of disorders can be more difficult to prove.

2.  The SSA can be more likely to approve benefits for people who have little to no education, but don't be tempted to mislead them about your education level or job skills.

3.  People who are self-employed have more of a burden of proof when it comes to reporting income, but your calculations will be checked when you file your taxes, so ensure that you report accurate numbers in order to stay below the $1030.00 monthly limit.

4.  Misrepresenting the date of your last day of work in order to increase the potential back pay payment.

5.  Failing to property inform the SSA of changes in marital status, which may affect your benefit amounts, especially if your new spouse works full time.

6.  If you are unable to apply using your own Social Security number because you've been convicted of fraud relating to other government-run benefit programs (such as food stamps and housing assistance), don't be tempted to use someone else's number to apply for benefits.

7.  Receiving financial support from someone and not reporting it as income, such as those who cohabitate or have roommates.

8.  Receiving cash wages for doing work. This actually constitutes a double fraud, since you are not only misreporting your income, but misrepresenting your ability to work at gainful employment.

9.  It may seem difficult to be aware of each and every rule when it comes to applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, but if you are found to have committed fraud, pleading ignorance won't get you far. Each fraudulent act can net you up to $10,000.00 in fines and 5 years in federal prison.

Discuss your claim with a Social Security attorney to help ensure that you don't run afoul of the SSA. To learn more, speak with an attorney, like those at Banik & Renner.